February 7th Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbor Day

I use to live in a neighborhood where everybody walked their dogs with their heads down, looking at the sidewalk and trying to ignore who might be around them. I now live in a neighborhood where everybody waves at each other and maybe even says hello to each other. What a difference.

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American neighborhoods over the years have been the iconic place to raise a family. A place where everybody knows each other, cares about each other, and actually is happy to see each other. It’s the way it was, but not so much anymore. People are almost afraid to get to know their neighbors because they might ask something of them sometime, or expect to treat others and be treated by others, more like family.

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Remember how neighbors use to build houses for each other, watch over each others kids, and throw block parties where everyone is allowed to come. The fun thing is, it all probably started with a friendly wave and a smile with the occasional hello thrown in just for good measure.

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A community is more than the house you live in, it’s more than the car your neighbor drives, or the gardens they grow their vegetables in. It’s a place where people liveand living is a lot more than just burying your head in the sand and letting everything pass you by.

How to celebrate – Give a wave, nod or hello to your neighbors today. Throw a neighborhood party. Find something you have in common with others in your neighborhood.

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October 28th Make A Difference Day

We are blessed everyday with the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life, or something that will serve someone’s purpose. It may just be sitting beside them as they go through a rough time, helping someone build a home, or helping little old ladies across the street… make sure they want to cross before you take them there first.

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Older people often need help even with the little things. Maybe reading t them if their eyesight is bad or helping them shop for groceries. And sometimes it might just be sitting there with them so that they are not alone. Making a difference does not have to be something huge, the little things count as well.

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The homeless are always in need of help.  It really doesn’t matter in the end how they got there, if not for the grace of God it could be you! A meal, a cup of coffee, a sweater or a pair of shoes will make their lives better and who knows, maybe they will rescue someone in real trouble because they had a pair of shoes to help them make a difference of their own.

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Make a Difference Day is always the fourth Saturday in October. It began back in the 1990’s. And while people go out of their way to make a difference today, shouldn’t we all be doing that everyday?

How to celebrate – Think of all the people  that have made a difference in your life, both in big things and little things. Make yourself available to be of service to someone today. Don’t wait to be asked, just go ahead and do whatever it is that needs to be done. You will make a difference.

August 17th National Thrift Shop Day

One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure. Keep that in mind while shopping at a thrift shop. Nearly every thrift shop has a charity connected to it, I think maybe it’s even a rule, so they do serve a purpose beyond just allowing you to find a bargain.

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It really doesn’t matter what you are looking for, there is a very good chance you’ll find it at a thrift shop. True, somebody has probably used it before you get the chance and you don’t have the history of that person, but it’s sort of the same as a garage sale so… deal with it.

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The fashions are probably not going to be the latest fad and I draw the line at underwear!

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And while you might find good deals, don’t expect to find that very valuable antique because the staff gets to see everything first. But there may be something of value to you that would be considered priceless.

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And remember that at least a part of every dollar you spend will go to support some good cause. You get something, and you give something. It’s a win-win for all.

How  to celebrate – Spend part of your day today thrift shopping. If you don’t need anything, donate to a thrift shop today (it will probably be tax deductible). If you don’t need anything, shop for someone else who does… that makes it a win-win-win.

May 28th Amnesty International Day

Today is the day to celebrate human rights and awareness of all the abuses that occur daily in the world. Of course you can’t do that in one day, but today is the day to start.

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We here in America, and most of the rest or the modern countries of the world, complain about how rough we have it. The thing is, we do not know suffering like those living in oppressed countries and the very poor countries. Those countries devastated by war, famine and natural disasters.  In fact, people living in those countries would probably trade us for our worst days here.

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Think about them the next time you go to a restaurant or pub, go see a movie or theater show or just get a glass of water out of your tap. For the price of a meal at a medium priced restaurant, a couple of drinks, a movie or a seat in a theater you could probably feed a dozen or more starving people.

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For some unknown reason we have all decided that it is a governments job to take care of others. Whether it is our government or someone else’s government we expect them to take care of the problems around the world. That is not the role of government. Government is meant to take care of our own. The only time a government should be assisting another government is if there is war and even then, it’s not always in our interest to fight someone else’s war.  If people help people, the government doesn’t have to come into it. They have nothing to gain, or lose, if we are taking care of the problem with people.

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We can’t stop war but we can stop hunger, we cannot stop natural disasters but we can help clean up the aftermath. Amnesty International was founded in London on May 28th, 1961.  There should be no politics about helping others. After all, there may come a time when we need help ourselves.

How to celebrate – Learn more about Amnesty International. Stop saying you wish you could help and go help. Set aside money from one meal out a month and send it to Amnesty International.

October 24th National Food Day

Today is National Food Day, the day we are supposed to recognize real food as opposed to the junk we often eat. It is defined by two words, “Eat Real”.

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So much of what we eat contains high levels of sugar, salt, and fat. It tastes great but it is really bad for us. In truth, the real foods, those not processed in a factory, really do taste better. Fresh fruits and vegetables have an abundance of flavor without adding anything to them. The meat we eat is often processed in such a way that much of the protein is replaced by fat leaving us the factory farm version of what we think we are eating.

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Sadly we get use to the flavoring added by the factories and when we taste the real thing, we think something is wrong with it. All the nutrients have been cooked out of the food leaving us with an artificially flavored substance. Sugar is added to mask the disappearing taste and gives us a watered down version of the real thing and something far less healthy for us. If you look at the contents of a can of soda you will see it contains nothing that we need to be adding to our diet.

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And while it’s bad enough what we are doing to ourselves think of what we are doing to our children. We are practically guaranteeing them a life of health issues, weight issues, and the same lack of energy we are suffering from ourselves.

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The Center For Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) started this day back in 2011 with the target date of October 24th 2012 to accumulate all the work done for the year. The day is celebrated with over 3,200 festivals across the US and a national conference in Washington, D.C. There are also thousands of schools that participate throughout the year.

How to celebrate – See if there is a program in your community celebrating “Eat Real”. If there isn’t, see what you need to do to start one. Check with your local schools and see if they are teaching the children to “Eat Real”. Go pick some fresh fruit from a u-pick farm and enjoy!

October 5th Walk To School Day

When I was a child I had to walk seven miles every morning to catch a bus that drove me another fifty miles to get to my school. It didn’t matter if it was snowing, raining, or hailing outside. The saddest part of all was the fact that the school was only about five miles away to start with.

Seriously though, I did have to walk, with my sister, about 2 miles and pretty much enjoyed every minute of it. Of course, we lived on a farm so we had to get to the highway where the bus could pick us up. We were very fortunate to have had that experience because nowadays most of our kids have to walk past the potential of drugs deals, street violence, and sexual offenders. It is more important now than ever before that we take our cities, and our children’s paths to school, back. Supporting Walk To School Day is a large step forward in doing that.

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Walk To School Day came out of Safe Kids Walk supported by FedEx. Over 8.2 million children have participated since it started in 1999. 16,000 FedEx employees have been involved with 10,000 schools making the program work. In fact, I have had some 23 years of experience with schools and know there is a place for this, and it serves a good purpose. We do need to make the paths to our schools safe again. No government, no school board, no policeman, is going to be able to do that, only we can make that change happen.

Now I know, we adults deserve our own time, work is important and we have all that shopping to do… but what’s most dear to us… all that stuff, or our children. This is not a day to hand them lunch and send them on their way, this is a day to walk with them, see what they see every day and what they have to contend with. In short, it should be what our parents did for us and what we expect of our children when they become parents.

Remember when Halloween use to be safe? Why isn’t it anymore? Is it because there are so many crazy people out there, in part… yes… but it’s also because we allow them to be out there and it’s something we need to be more aware of.

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How to celebrate – Walk your kids to school today, or walk them home tonight, or better yet… both! Learn what school programs are in place and if there aren’t any, get them started! Don’t just suggest it to someone else like it is their job to do it, do it yourself! Help take our communities back from those who would use it for their ends, not ours!