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October is National Make a Difference Month

Make a Difference Day is a special day of widespread charity and volunteer work, in which people from all over the country help others in any way they can. Created by USA Weekend Magazine in 1990, this day is celebrated each year on the fourth Saturday in October.

Participants are encouraged to help out in many different ways, but most especially by dedicating time to fixing-up, cleaning, and repairing poorer communities. The success of Make A Difference Day depends solely on participation. It doesn’t matter how you choose to help, all that matters is that you make the commitment to do something.

My church chooses a Saturday in October for our annual “Giveaway”. Each year everyone from our church cleans out their closets, garages, and homes and donates gently used items to the church. Televisions, clothing, books, kitchen items, holiday items, bikes, toys, tools, and much more are donated each year. We advertise our “Giveaway ” to the surrounding community. On Giveaway Saturday our church cooks a hearty breakfast for the community to enjoy before taking the items that they need. The line grows longer every year. All are welcome and everything is FREE! It’s a gratifying experience to spread kindness, walk in the spirit of giving, and make a difference in someone’s life.

If you don’t find a group or charity to volunteer with, Make a pledge this month to make a difference in someone’s life. Here are a list of suggestions:

1. Pay for someone’s meal (Maybe the car in back of you in the drive through)

2. Donate old books to a Senior Center

3. Donate crutches, wheel chairs, walkers to a Senior Center

4. Help an elderly person or a Mom with kids with their groceries

5. Make two lunches and give one away

6. Leave a small, anonymous gift for a person who needs it.

7. Help clean an elderly persons home

8. Deliver fresh-baked cookies to the Fire Department.

9. Stop by a nursing home, and visit a resident with no family nearby

10. Leave a treat or handmade note of thanks for a delivery person or mail carrier.

11. Distribute kindness bookmarks, or scripture that you have made to hospital patients.

12. Give a bag of groceries to a homeless person.

12. Buy books for a day care or school.

13. Slip a $20 bill to a person who you know is having financial difficulty.

14. Buy a gift card for a homeless person, or someone you know who’s struggling.

15. Donate old towels to an animal shelter.

Outrageous Vegas

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Living in California offers great opportunities to getaway without really going very far. Living here all these years, I’ve never been a fan of Las Vegas. It’s a world of its own. It plays with with your mind, everything is an illusion. Buildings on top of buildings, you don’t know where one casino begins, and one casino ends. It could be 10am in the morning, and your body feels like its 10pm stuck inside the continuous clicking and ringing of the slots. No windows, few exits, blasting air-conditioning, smoke filled…..money hungry losers aimlessly wondering. Not to mention the sweltering 102 degree dry heat! They even have “skinny” mirrors (no joke).

I haven’t been there since 2008. Lots can change in Vegas in only a few years. My “Besty” invited me to see Elton John. We consider this the first trip from our “empty nest” bucket list. So we left on Friday morning.

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Yes, the drive is mundane, but it beats a $300 round-trip ticket. We got to catch up with all the particulars…..work, kids, husbands, you know.

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We stopped at the Mad Greek Cafe for a highly recommended Greek Salad, and we were back on the road.

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We stayed at the Venetian. Beautiful hotel. The suites were the way to go to kick off our little celebration. We settled in and prepared for our adventure.

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We dined at Tao Asian Bistro. The Greek salad remnants kept us from ordering main dish items, but the Alaskan crab, asparagus, and shrimp sushi melted in my mouth. We also ordered pork dumplings, and topped it off with blueberry, pomegranate martinis. Great restaurant. Now on to the show.

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One word. . . MOTOWN! The group is called Human Nature, and this time it’s not an illusion. Four white guys from Australia. Their voices are out of this world! Their show is sponsored by Smokey Robinson, and they sing Motown music live with a full band, dance moves and all. The one thing I loved is that their show is truly a tribute to all those who contributed to the success of Motown. Incredible show. Don’t miss this if you do Vegas.

Great first day, with great company. The adventure continues . . .

Louis Zamperini – The WWII Surviver in the book “Unbroken”

Louis Zamperini to speak at JSerra Catholic High School September 7, 2012 11am

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood.  Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.  It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard.  So began one of the most extraordinary odyssey of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini.  In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails.  As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile.  But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater.  Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion.  His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit.  Telling an unforgettable story of a man’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.

The County Fair

Some people “love a parade”. . . “I love a county fair”!

A fair is a gathering of people to display or trade produce or other goods, to parade or display animals and often to enjoy associated carnival or funfair entertainment. It is normally of the essence of a fair that it is temporary; some last only an afternoon while others may last as long as ten weeks.

*Despite agriculture being an almost dead industry in our county, the annual Orange County Fair is doing just fine. Listed as the ninth largest county fair in the United States, it attracted more than a million people last year. It’s taken 120 years for the event to gain such high acceptance.

The Orange County Fair Corp. formed in 1889. In 1892, a horse named Silkwood, an Orange County phenomena, was the main attraction at the fair. Thousands crowded the Santa Ana Racetrack to watch him win.

When the 32nd District Agricultural Association was formed by the California Department of Agriculture after the war, it was given responsibility for producing an Orange County Fair.
This group purchased the present day fairgrounds, 175 acres of the former Santa Ana Army Air Base, and recreated the fair in 1949 to its present format of special events including concerts and entertainment as well as livestock competition, floral and agricultural exhibits, carnival rides, food and games.

The Orange County Fair is coming to town next week with more fried food and special deals than ever under the theme “Home Sweet Home.” The annual event, which attracts residents from across Southern California and opens July 13, and runs through August 12.

This year’s dining includes as many fried foods as imaginable, from fried pickles to fried peanut butter and jelly, in addition to several rows of food options. The new Bacon A-Fair booth will offer bacon lovers an array of bacon wrapped food items, deep-fried bacon-wrapped hot dogs and bacon-wrapped mushroom with smoked gouda.

The events I particularly enjoy are the art and photography exhibits, live entertainment, the swap meet section, the garden display, livestock, and the “bug” exhibit. I love the fish fry, Texas BBQ, fresh fruit, lemonade, funnel cake, and soft ice cream, none of that crazy fried food!

Be sure to check out the performance by The All American Boys Chorus. My son toured with them for 5 years, their fabulous and perform there every year for free!

The Orange County Fair will pump $2.5 million into the job market over the next six weeks. Embark on an “old” adventure this summer, visit your local county fair and support your local economy, and all those that contribute!

*History of the OC Fair courtesy of OC Register