Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bridge Over Troubled Waters

I was reminded today that often people don't know where to turn in times of crisis. This is not a pitch for United Way...Just information that may someday be of use to you or someone you know...It is also a place to begin exploring ways to volunteer if that happens to be one of your New Year's resolutions!

Every hour of every day, hundreds of people need essential human services - they are looking for training, employment, food pantries, help for an aging parent, addiction prevention programs for their teenage children, affordable housing options, support groups and ways of becoming part of their community. 2-1-1 allows people to give help and to get help.

2-1-1 is an easy to remember telephone number that, where available, connects people with important community services and volunteer opportunities. In 2007, 2-1-1 services in the United States answered nearly 10 million calls. The implementation of 2-1-1 is spearheaded by United Ways and information and referral agencies in states and local communities.
United Way of America (UWA) and the Alliance for Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) strongly support federal funding so that every American has access to this essential service.

As of November 2008, 2-1-1 serves over 234 million Americans (more than 78% of the entire population) through 244 active 2-1-1 systems covering all or part of 48 states (including 31 states with 90%+ coverage) plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico. The remaining states are all in various stages of planning and implementation. Every few weeks, these coverage numbers increase.

To find out more about your state, click here.

America' Song

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sleeping Beauty

Don’t know if I can adequately describe this scenario, but here goes…

My husband and I stretched out in front of the TV, snug under our comfy little throws. I awoke with my chin buried in my chest, so I snapped my head up and immediately asked, trying to dispel any suspicion he might have that I’d nodded off, "So are you asleep?"

“Diana, do you think the TV is doing this by itself?”

The screen was changing every few seconds as he remotely paged through the channel guide.

“Oh, uh, I hadn't even noticed!”

Okay, get the picture? Now, please tell me I’m not the only one doing these things nowadays!!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Reverend Joseph Lowery's Closing Prayer

Long-time civil rights leader, Dr. Lowery, 87, not only gave the inaugural benediction at the request of then President-elect Obama to the citizens of the United States, but also to people the world over, he told Jon Shirek, People who hope Obama will keep America strong. Dr. Lowery told 11Alive, "That's a compliment for this country, that people around the world want this country to lead. They want this country to be a beacon of hope and a light for peace."

Many of my South African "sisters" represent the people Dr. Lowery spoke of. Fikile Ngcobo, seated right front, emailed this week from Johannesburg, "To all the other sisters I hope you are all well and looking forward to the GREAT DAY 20TH January 2009, a day that will go down in world history when the US and the world will see Obama take his oath to presidency. The excitement is all over, for us here given the time differences, like we did with the elections and voting there, we here in SA won't be sleeping we will be watching TV and being part of the history making and celebration there."

And this morning, an email from a Ghanaian family who lost their son one year ago today in South Africa. Hope Korshega Selase ("Dzifa") , aged 21, a volunteer with special needs people, drowned moments after this photo was taken.

His family celebrates our new president as well as, on this the first anniversary of his death, their son's self-stated mission in life: ''Korshega be a man of value rather than a man of success''

Another "sister" from the States, Sally Broughton said it well: "As I think of Barack Hussein Obama's inauguration on the anniversary of this sad day, I seem to feel Dzifa's spirit soar in recognition of this blessing for our country and our world, that a man who stands for grace and justice and hope and responsible living will be leading our country."

May we all find value in each day and ways to give meaning to others' lives.

Dr. Lowery closed today's benediction with this: "We ask [God] to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to give back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right."


Monday, January 19, 2009


Tonight before yoga class someone said, "Where is everyone?"

Another person said, "In D.C."

I interjected, "Wish I were there..."

To which the first person snickered, rolled her eyes, shot the other woman a "yeah, right" look and turned from me.

Pleeeease! This is NOT about politics. And if it is...grow up. This country needs unity. If it's not, grow up. Stop being a bigot.

Hello?!?!? This is AMERICA!

Which led me to finding this graphic. I went to ClipArt (on Microsoft Office) and typed "American." This is the third graphic that came up (the first two were also Obama. I just liked this one the best!).

Hey, if Clip Art gets it...


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Good Morning, America!

This is Wendel Wordsworth...A new friend. A new obsession. A new reminder to stay young at heart.

When I was creating this graphic, which will be page 1 of a picture book I'm currently writing and illustrating, and thought of Wendel awakening to a new day, a new adventure, I thought about our nation.

It's a new day for each of us. Officially it begins Tuesday, when President-elect Obama is sworn in. But even this afternoon, as I watched on TV festivities in DC, listened to him briefly speak to the thousands upon thousands of Americans gathered on the Mall, standing before the Lincoln Memorial, I sensed the new day dawning.

May we all be like Wendel, open to possibilities, stretching into the new day, filled with anticipation and hope.

Oh, beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain...

And The Dream...