And Now for Tuscaloosa

Almost 300 tornadoes occurred on Wednesday and killed that many people and more. The last count I heard was 318 dead from the Southern U.S. to Canada with Alabama bearing the brunt of it and in particular Tuscaloosa. The devastation is overwhelming:

Chances are good that I know someone who was hurt or killed, and I’m sure I’ll be finding out very soon. I am and will be mourning those who died, praying for those left behind and looking for a way to help. It was helpful to me personally to remember what happened to another town that was devastated a few years ago (2007) — Greensburg, Kansas. Virtually the entire town was wiped out:

Greensburg, KS May 16, 2007 – The center of town resembles a bomb site twelve days after it was hit by an F5 tornado. Cleanup and reconstruction will take years. Photo by Greg Henshall / FEMA

Thankfully, Greensburg made a decision, and they were able to bounce back with help and forward thinking, and now it’s Tuscaloosa’s turn.

Greensburg today:

Some may think it’s a little too soon to say something about Greensburg’s comeback, but obviously, I disagree. Yes, there needs to be mourning for those who lost their lives, but there should always be a specter of hope while it’s occurring.

If you want to help the victims of the tornadoes, I’m putting my plug in for Samaritan’s Purse, which is an organization I’ve been involved with and supported for several years. They have very low overhead; almost everything goes to those in need. The best part of their help is the people who come with it. The ones I’ve known are doing it as an act of love, and it’s obvious. There is also the Red Cross who always needs donations to continue their help, and I’m sure Greensburg will be doing their part to help.

For more information on Greensburg, please visit their site

Timeout for New Zealand

Last time I had a timeout was for something devastating in Queensland, Australia. I’m sorry to say that this is something devastating as well. Since Richard Armitage is in New Zealand, I am probably more aware of what’s going on there than I would be. However my sensitivity came about, my thoughts and prayers are with those in Christchurch who have experienced a significant earthquake.

And it is a testament to our present age that I and many others could learn so quickly about this through first Twitter and then YouTube. I hope that speedy knowledge will help facilitate aid to those people.

I don’t know what’s going on in NZ, but I saw this video not long after the quake, and it looks pretty bad:

There are reports that people are possibly trapped under the rubble.

edit: Sadly, death’s have been confirmed.

I will update with any information about sending aid.

For those looking for friends and loved ones, Google has set up an application to help.

Update: here is a link to TheOneRing.Net’s piece about helping those in New Zealand.

Christmas in July

Alert: there is nothing flippant about this post. Well, almost nothing.

It's a hot day where I am. A little snow right now sounds good, and believe me when I say that's quite a statement from me who is all caught up on snow for a few years. Nevertheless, I could use a little Christmastime weather for a couple of hours as I gear up for a fundraiser I've been participating in for a number of years.

The goal is to raise funds for an organization that helps people in Uganda. The original mission was to help children abandoned by their prostitute mothers. It has grown into help for the mothers as well, but help in a way that keeps giving. They are taught how to start their own businesses so they can get off the street, and it's working. The program was started by a woman I know who went to Uganda to do a bit of mission work for her church. She never came back. Well, we do see her a few times a year, but mostly she lives in Uganda and has even adopted a Ugandan child who is precious!

All of this has made me think of others who promote charitable causes. So in honor of Richard Armitage's encouragement to direct our giving to those in need instead of to him, I come with this post. Please note this is not designed to solicit donations for the Ugandan mission but rather to respect the requests of Richard Armitage.

For those not familiar with RA's comments about giving, he has talked about it in his messages to fans. His latest message (December 2009) has made it very easy for people to donate:

Dear Friends,

Its that time of year again and I wanted to extend my goodwill and best wishes to you all. It has been a busy, rather difficult year for all of us, and coming to the end of a decade is a great time to think and gather strength for the next one.

Thank you for the continued support, which has been offered to me this year, I hope that I can continue to ‘carve a path’ which is both exciting, diverse and honorable to this crazy art form.

Thank you all, also, for the wonderful gifts which I have finally received after my travels abroad. I will eventually give thanks by letter. I do however, wish to ask, especially at this time of year, and this particular year, as I look at the small mountain of carefully chosen gifts purchased with those hard earned pennies; wracked with guilt when I think of the potential that your collective generosity could provide for those who have much less than I do; for you to pause and consider. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for all your support and kind words, these are gifts enough, and I would like to recommend two other charities which I have chosen to support this year in addition to Barnardo’s and Shelter. I would like to recommend Childline and The Salvation Army, as potential recipients of a small offering.

I have also set up a page at if you go to the site and enter my name, you can chose from the 4 charities I have mentioned, and give a small donation, anonomously, if you like or with a message. I hope this makes it a little easier and more fun.

I hope the Christmas spirit runs high through all the families gathering together, and for those who are alone, to enjoy the simplicity of a day when the our corner of the world stops for a few hours. Yes there is only one left!!!

Drink, be Merry, be kind, be thankful.

I wish everyone joy for Christmas, and hope for a happy 2010.

With love

Richard’s Just Giving Pages:




The Salvation Army

Oh, sure it sounds easy for him to say since he’s not hurting financially, but the man does not have to say anything. I commend him for taking the time to do that and doing it in a way that’s personal. There is nothing like personal contact. It makes both the initiator and the recipient better people.

Letter courtesy of and Richard Armitage of course.

To read RA’s other messages go here.

Screencap courtesy of

edit: I probably should have said this earlier, but oh well, I’m saying it now. Having worked for quite a few years in philanthropic endeavors with various organizations, I know how tough the middle of the year can be for them. At Christmas there is a festive mood that fosters a sense of goodwill and prompts people to share. In July not so much. So even though I know times are tough for a lot of people, I think it’s helpful to have a reminder that there are probably others who are in more need than us. Thanks for listening.