Sep 202017

Good morning. Although our family weathered #Irma unscathed, many of us are using it as sort of a reset: looking for ways to help others, making sure we’re prepared for the next one, and sorting through our personal reactions and lessons. We are heartbroken about the tragedies taking place in Puerto Rico and Mexico right now and would send “thoughts and prayers” if we weren’t so sick of politicians saying those words while doing nothing meaningful to help. Photo ops detract from rescue efforts.

The other thing many of us are trying to sort out: why is everyone feeling so fuzzy-headed? 100% of local friends and neighbors report feeling off-balance and a bit mentally slow — so I put together a few quotations that may or may not be relevant. I hope you enjoy them.

There are some things you learn best in calm, some in storm. – Willa Cather

We adore chaos because we love to produce order. – M. C. Escher

We adore chaos because we love to produce order. Port in a Storm Click To Tweet

The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.   Vincent van Gogh

It is only in sorrow bad weather masters us; in joy we face the storm & defy it.   Amelia Barr

In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order. –  Carl Jung

In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order. Click To Tweet

Tones sound, and roar and storm about me until I have set them down in notes. – Ludwig van Beethoven

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.   Melody Beattie

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. Click To Tweet

Are you weathering some kind of storm? What brings you hope and comfort? I look forward to your comments.








 September 20, 2017  Posted by  Happiness, Special Topics, Thinking 8 Responses »
Sep 062017

I am married to a Buddhist, so the concept of the “bardo” is not completely foreign to me. The Tibetan tradition uses the term “bardo” to describe the time between two earthly lives: the time between dying from one body and being born into the next. It sounds a lot like what some Christians refer to as purgatory. And, while my family and I are all still very much alive and well, we are experiencing a significant moment “between lives.” So are several million neighbors in Florida. We are getting ready for Hurricane Irma. And, we are not getting ready for Hurrican Irma.

It's an interesting way to be 'between lives' as they say. Click To Tweet

As long-time New Englanders, we are familiar with extremes in weather. As relatively new Floridians, we’re still learning about tropical storms and hurricanes but a person sure does not need to be living in Florida to know that the approaching storm is a big one. But it’s not here yet.

Floridians have gradually shifted focus from helping Houston to making our own preparations. I’m extremely grateful for the detailed and informative weather coverage. What they’ve told us so far is that Irma is very dangerous — and that it might not hit here at all. Or that every conceivable path is going to create significant problems. So where does that leave us?

We are between. We are between being afraid and being calm. Between preparation and denial. Between despair for Houston (and the islands) and hope for our community. Between staying and going. Between keeping to our normal schedules and bugging out. It’s an odd feeling to know we’re going to pack up and leave but not being able to pack because we’re only taking essentials. It’s even stranger to attend to today’s mundane appointments while wondering what will happen to those on the calendar for next week.

Between preparation and denial. Between staying and going. Click To Tweet

So we have fitted the dog crates into the gassed-up car and have clean laundry to take along. The lawn furniture is on its way into the pool and the stray gardening “stuff” will make its way into the garage. It’s an exercise in preparing for the future while staying firmly rooted in the present — of embracing ambiguity. It reminds us that we never really know what the next day will bring but that a veil of routine keeps us in comfortable denial.

...but we never really know what the next day will bring. Click To Tweet

And we will keep hangin’ out in the bardo until it’s time to start the next chapter.






 September 6, 2017  Posted by  Self care, Special Topics, Thinking 10 Responses »
Aug 272017

A friend reached out online and asked about making donations to help Houston-area hurricane help without going through some of the bigger, national charities with the sky-high administrative costs. Granted, they make it easy — but, as an individual donor, my friend was concerned with getting the most out of each of her donated dollars.

Who will get the largest part of her donated dollar to help Houston Hurricane Harvey victims? Click To Tweet

Working in the non-profit sector, I was introduced to an organization called GuideStar. More than 2 million nonprofit organizations (both IRS-recognized and faith-based) have developed searchable profiles. In addition to receiving ratings from the Guide Star, individual organizations provide complete contact information, current revenues and expenses, board information, annual reports and detailed financial statements for up to 5 years.

Here are some Guidestar gold-rated organizations that might appeal to you.

AmeriCares saves lives and improves health for people affected by poverty or disaster so they can reach their full potential. Their site reports response to an average of 30 natural disasters and humanitarian crises worldwide each year with only 3% administrative costs. AmeriCares establishes long-term recovery projects and brings disaster preparedness programs to vulnerable communities. Their relief workers are among the first to respond to emergencies and stay as long as needed, helping to restore health services for survivors.

The people in the Houston Area Women's Center 120-bed shelter needed emergency housing BEFORE Hurricane Harvey. Click To Tweet

As I searched for some appropriate gold-level local organizations, I learned that the Houston Foodbank will re-open as soon as possible to assist with disaster relief. Also, domestic violence services are emergency services and will be stressed during the storm and recovery.  The Houston Area Women’s Center maintains a 120-bed shelter. In my experience running a domestic violence and sexual assault response agency, severe weather events make an already difficult job even harder. Remember, those folks needed emergency housing before the disaster; I’m sure, would appreciate any additional support.

Update: (I’ve not looked at these on Guidestar yet.)

I’ve been over on Twitter where I just learned that disaster relief organizations generally don’t provide diapers. The Texas Diaper Bank will get diapers (for babies and for seniors) out to disaster sites as soon as they can.

Portlight provides emergency services for people with disabilities.

This page is an aggregated list of Harvey-related GoFundMe requests.

I’ll add more as I hear from friends in that part of the world.

Wednesday update: 

A Dallas-based friend is soliciting contributions for Jewish Family Services of Dallas, citing their experience and excellent work during Hurricane Katrina.

And Google is covering processing costs and matching donations — until their drive reaches $2million — to Network for Good for The American Red Cross using this link.

Here’s the list GuideStar has posted and continues to update.







 August 27, 2017  Posted by  Special Topics, Thinking 10 Responses »
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