A Call To Action To Help Texas And Florida Hurricane Victims

With Irma and Harvey ganging up on the southeastern American coastlines, plenty of people need immediate help. The damage done by hurricanes in the last few weeks will take at least a year for some to recover from. 

Many who live far away from the coast want to help out and are donating online in order to participate in the recovery effort. There are many organizations we can all donate online to. Here are just four:

  • Samaritan’sPurse, led by Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, provides spiritual and physical aid to victims of war, natural disasters, disease, poverty, and persecution in more than 100 countries.“Samaritan’s Purse mobilizes staff and equipment and enlists thousands of volunteers to provide emergency aid to victims of tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, and other natural disasters in the United States. We often stay behind after our initial response to rebuild or restore houses for families in need.”  Current projects are located in Houston, Pearland, Santa Fe, Victoria, and Rockport/Portland in Texas.  Samaritan’s Purse has a team in St. Martin now and is also readying teams to help in Florida
  • GlobalGiving is helping with hurricane relief by providing food, water, and medicine as well as long-term recovery assistance. Their efforts will help people in the US and in the Caribbean. 
  • TheSalvation Army has served more than 118,000 meals in Houston to victims of Hurricane Harvey. They are mobilizing to help in Florida too.
  • J J  WATT, a powerful Defensive End on the Houston Texans NFL team, organized a fundraiser for victims of Hurricane Harvey that, as of this writing, has surpassed $32 million dollars. So far, the YouCaring page lists 200,000 supporters. And people are still giving. 

Today’s goal is: Donate to a trusted charity. Do the research. Find an organization you’d like to support in order to share the burden of hurricane-affected families.

Billions of dollars must be donated to help these families. We know it won’t come from a few, but from millions of donors worldwide. But which organization should you give to?

That’s a decision each donor should make. Look for trusted websites that give accurate information. Contact them if you have specific questions.

Maybe your friends want to have a donation party where they all bring an item to be auctioned off, with all the proceeds going to the hurricane relief efforts in Texas or Florida.

Thanks for being generous and helping someone smile.

Giving to Help Hurricane Harvey Victims

Billions of dollars of damage was inflicted on the Texans along the Gulf Coast as Hurricane Harvey took homes and jobs from people in 18 Texas counties.

High winds and high water took its toll as the hurricane hit the Corpus Christi area. By the time trillions of gallons of water had been dumped on Texas, rainfall totals were breaking records all through the area. East of Houston, the highest recorded rainfall total was over 51 inches (51.88 inches on Cedar Bayou near Highlands, Texas). The Houston Hobby Airport recorded 33.88 inches. The city of Pasadena recorded over 40 inches.

As soon as people were being dropped off at the George R Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston, business owners were thinking about how they could help. Papa John’s Pizza donated 4,000 personal pizzas, and various local restaurant owners donated what they could to help feed the thousands fleeing their flooded homes.

Businesses like HEB grocery stores and Buc-ee’s convenience stores gave food to first responders so they could have one less thing on their minds as they helped the stranded victims. HEB trucks were welcomed as they showed up in disaster relief convoys  to feed Texans  going through hard times.

Those who were rescued from flooded houses should have gotten a Tetanus vaccination by now because of the likelihood of infection. Those who have been volunteering in homes that still have some water inside likely will need to get a Tetanus shot as well. HEB grocery stores in certain hurricane-affected areas have been giving away free Tetanus shots in their pharmacy while supplies last. The Tetanus vaccination helps those who have come into contact with bacteria present in flood waters and debris.

Local newspapers are distributing information to help hurricane victims receive the supplies they need. In Brazoria County, The Facts had an article to share locations for free food and other help. 

Many churches along the Gulf Coast have been organizing volunteer crews to go into homes to tear out soggy drywall and flooring. They are crossing denominational lines and serving the whole community. Volunteers are signing up to help and coming from across America to lend some muscle.

Funds donated to the Harvey Relief Fund through the Bayou City Fellowship website will go directly to the relief efforts. Scroll down their page and hover your mouse over the image that reads "Donate". Bayou City Fellowship is using its own outreach budget to support all the overhead costs associated with the relief effort.  

What’s their motivation? They want to share the love of Jesus and give glory to God for their ability to help.

One woman’s experience was described as a time “when people loved deeply, served tirelessly, and worked in unity.”

Today’s goal is:  Do something. Pick a business, school, or family along the Texas Gulf Coast and give something to make their recovery run more smoothly. Use your gifts, time, supplies, prayer, or money to make a difference in someone’s life.

People are supporting others by donating food directly or giving to food banks. Donations of diapers are a welcome gift for many moms.

If you want to help Texans, you can donate to their recovery via Houston-area charities or contact your Texas friends and find out where they’re getting help. Don’t forget to ask about the needs of local schools. Many schools have lost a lot and will need more supplies and volunteers as they try to get back on track this semester.

Thanks for thinking of others and making your community better.

A Cure for the Negative Mindset

Have you struggled with a negative mindset? Me too. But I was able to face that temptation and turn it around with a positive character trait.

Earlier this year, I was frustrated with the fact that my plan wasn’t happening. I love to create goals and plans and work to make them happen. When they don’t, it makes me wonder what went wrong. Nobody likes failure.

When my plan failed, I had to review my decisions so I didn’t make the same mistake again. Analyzing the process to find the weak link takes time and a lot of focus. At the same time, I had family members who needed my attention, which drew me out of my focus.

How was I going to do my work and maintain my relationships? The answer was right in front of me. I accepted the challenge to rise above my frustration with a 25-day plan that not only helped me, but also helped all those I shared my day with.

Today’s goal: Be attentive.

Find a friend to brainstorm with and choose a positive character trait to use in your problem solving. We’ll use Attentiveness today.

I didn’t want my problem to change how I treated my family, so I had to stop working and give my attention to my family. They love me and need me. Family relationships don’t work well unless you give your attention.

Work relationships also demand your attentiveness.  When you get frustrated by someone at work who always complains and whines, use that character trait and show some love in the situation  by listening to what’s being said. Think about what that complaint means instead of being annoyed by it. You never know what pain someone is hiding in their whining. Keeping a positive mindset is easier when you have a plan and a friend for accountability.

Want to be the heroine who shines the light of love to everyone around her? Me too.

If you have your own copy of my book, HEROINE: Rising to theChallenge, just pick a chapter to work on for one day. At the end of the day, write down what worked for you, what didn’t work, and what you’d like to try differently next time. Write it in a journal so you can encourage yourself as you look back on your progress. I created a Mini-Guide to help out and get the party started.

Use Your Superpower To Help Others

Nyle DeMarco is a new rising star in the modeling industry – even though he’s deaf. Nyle didn’t see himself as handicapped when he tried out for Tyra Banks’ TV show, America’s Next Top Model. He won that competition. Then he challenged everyone’s ideas about what deaf people can do when he competed in and became the mirror ball winner on Dancing With the Stars. In one episode, he and his professional dance mentor Peta decided to present their version of a ballroom dance with a small section of silence in it. The men dancing with Nyle in simultaneous movement during the silent segment pulled it off, but they found it more difficult than they anticipated. Nyle showed that his ability to learn a dance without music was better than their ability to learn a dance without music. And Nyle did it every week. Because he turned his deafness into a superpower instead of succumbing to the pressure to see it as a weakness, he has inspired millions of people.  

Do you have an ability that sets you apart from others? When you and I stop seeing ourselves as weak, we can accomplish things no one but God could imagine. Weakness might be what others see in us, but we can succeed because of what God sees in us. 

Today’s goal is: Use your special abilities to help or inspire others. 

How can you benefit others with something you do well? Can you tutor someone who is learning a foreign language? Can you help with a neighborhood soccer team?  

I have a cousin who teaches kids to surf as a part of their Vacation Bible School experience. I have never taught kids to surf mostly because I don’t know how to surf. That’s not my superpower. I think that’s a cool ministry to be a part of, and I wish I had that talent, but I have to use whatever I do well to help and inspire others. 

If you think you don’t have a superpower, you might just need a change of perspective. Look for your superpower. Use that ability to benefit those around you. The time and effort you spend helping or inspiring others is worth it.

Setting The Example

I started this blog as my encouragement for us all to stay active in the lives of those around us. But when I see people fleeing from their homes because of flooding or other destruction, it makes me want to help more.

Years ago, my mom's house was in the path of a flood. She had some sand delivered to her yard so she and her family and friends could fill bags with sand and pack them up against the plastic she wrapped the bottom half of her house with. I'm sure I wasn't the only one with sore muscles that day. Many people were there offering to help.

This year when the Brazos River flooded, my mom's house had two to three inches of water in it. That doesn't sound like much, but she still has to replace walls and flooring. I wasn't able to help her this year because I was doing something else. But I sent my best gift: my two kind, strong, able-bodied children.

Some of her friends had a lot more water in their homes than my mom did. But the funny thing is, while her friends were staying at someone else's house until they were able to go back to their home, they were still helping others. They weren't letting their own disaster stop them from showing concern for other people.

Today's goal is: Bump it up a notch!

When you see a someone else's need, decide if you have the ability to help them. If you can't help, pray. If you can help, grab a friend and make it a bigger gift.

When you are being friendly, caring, daring, determined, and generous, you are setting an example for others as you participate in your community. Don’t think no one will notice. They notice, and they sometimes accept your unspoken challenge without telling you. Your quiet gift of time, effort, prayer, supplies, or money actually improves the chances of others donating or volunteering.

Thank you for making a difference in your world. You are motivating others.

Donate To A Food Bank

When you get hungry, you go to the refrigerator and pull out a snack. What if all you had in the kitchen was a can of tuna and some powdered drink mix? Where would you go for food if you didn’t have enough money to pay the electric bill last month?

You might be surprised at how many people show up at churches and ask for food. But where does the church get their supply?

Food banks supply many people with non-perishable food items. Churches get donations from their members, but some also purchase food for their pantry from a food bank.

Today’s goal is: Donate food to a food bank or a church food ministry.

Organizations who collect items to give to the poor rely on donations. If you can’t donate your time at one of the food banks or churches in your area, then get a bag of rice and a jar of peanut butter while you’re doing your shopping and drop it by a donation site.

It’s easy to buy a few extra items each time you do your grocery shopping. Sometimes you can save money by buying in bulk. Whether you donate two boxes of pasta or twenty cases of canned goods, your generosity helps others in need.

Enjoy knowing you’ve helped.

Happy Birthday To You!

I know I’m not the only one in the world who forgets to send birthday cards to family and friends. Lots of people forget this fabulous opportunity to brighten someone’s day.

My office has a file that stores a variety of birthday cards. Some are specifically for a Grandmother or a sister. Others are fairly generic and could be used for anyone. So I can throw a card in the mail pretty quickly. My problem is remembering when someone’s birthday is coming up.

I got a phone call from a relative who wanted to thank me for sending a birthday card. I thought it was strange that he would call and thank me for something I try to remember to do every year. Then he admitted that it was the only birthday card he got in the mail that year.

Today’s goal is: Send birthday cards to as many of your family and friends as you can.

There are all sorts of calendar alarm systems to remind you of an upcoming birthday. You might have a kitchen calendar, a purse calendar, a hand-held computer, a Blackberry, or a calendar alarm system on your cell phone. Whatever system you use, make sure you list those important birthdays and get the card out on time.

You never know if yours will be the only card they get in the mail.

Be A Guest Speaker

This year in school, there will be opportunities for parents to get involved in classroom projects. Some parents volunteer to help with specific areas of interest, things they excel in or have special knowledge about.

Some retired men and women might be interested in being a guest speaker for an afternoon of interesting experiments or story-telling.

Last year, my son’s class learned about geology from one of his friends’ parents. Mr. Smith works as a geologist at an oil and gas company and took a day off to give a hands-on presentation. Thanks, Mr. Smith. You rock!

I know teachers welcome guest speakers who pique the interest of their students.

Today’s goal is: Volunteer to be a guest speaker at a local school.

Is there something you’ve studied and can share with kids in a memorable way? I’ll bet there is. Kids often find stories of an older generation fascinating. The history that was lived by their grandparents or great-grandparents stirs their imagination and brings “old facts” of history into reality.

My husband’s grandmother lived in a covered wagon during her childhood. My kids have never seen a real covered wagon. How much more does history come to life when you know someone who’s lived it?

Whether you’re an artist, geologist, chef, or a fan of classic literature, you have special knowledge that will thrill a young audience.

Help A School Teacher

What if you were your child’s teacher? What if you had a million things to do before school started tomorrow? What if someone offered to help do tasks that didn’t require your personal attention?

You can be that caring individual that shows up with 20 to 30 minutes of spare time to help out with an extra pair of hands.

Today’s goal is: Offer to help your child’s teacher organize pieces of a school project.

When the school year is beginning and there are a lot of things every teacher needs help with, a volunteer is a beautiful sight. My kids’ teachers had sign up sheets to help parents know the areas of need. One teacher needed a library resource parent. Another needed a holiday party organizer. I chose to sign up for the book fair parent team.

If working on an after-school project for your kids’ teacher doesn’t fit your schedule, ask about another area of need. There’s always room for one more caring helper.

Hello! Good to see you.

My son watches Spongebob Squarepants – so I occasionally do, too. I learn things about people when watching characters interact. Friendly characters tend to stand out. When Spongebob takes a walk, he waves to people and says hello.

I’ve also heard of other people – real people – that stand out because they’re friendly. There was a man who couldn’t walk down the street, but that didn’t stop him. He sat on his front porch and waved and said hello to everyone that passed by him, whether they traveled by car, bicycle, or on foot.

I remember when my kids were around three or four years old, they stood in the grassy front yard of my mother’s house and waved to all the cars on the adjacent highway. She lives on a curve in the road, so the kids were very visible. I thought it was funny (and so did the kids) that quite a lot of the cars and trucks honked as they passed.

Today’s goal is: Wave at the people in your neighborhood as you travel past them or as they travel past you.

Being friendly in your neighborhood is a good way to get to know your neighbors.