Depression: A Love Story

Depression sucks.

And I don't mean "sucks" in the, "Dude, you got in a car accident?  That sucks." sort of way.  I mean literally.  Depression sucks away life.

I have been living with depression for years.  But it's not mine.  I live with my husband's.

I feel compelled to start by clarifying that we have a happy marriage.  Like all marriages, ours ebbs and flows through times of bright highs and bleak lows.  Through it all, we love each other dearly.  We respect each other and work continually to ensure that we are taking care of each other.  We both geek out regularly and find joy in atrociously dark humor.  We encourage each other and take pride in the other's achievements. At times, we have each been the north star for the other, ensuring that life's tribulations do not veer us too far off course.  In short, we are in it for life.

However, a while ago, it sucked for a while.  Dave was becoming increasingly unhappy at work and disinterested in life at home.  He dreaded leaving in the morning, yet he stayed really late at the office, sometimes not arriving back home until 9 or 10 o'clock at night.  I would be left alone with one small child, then two, for 15 hours with no relief.  I was exhausted.  He looked hollow and gray.  We argued.  We were both frustrated and angry at this awful something that we couldn't name.  I was scared.  Every time he'd leave on a business trip I slept with the phone by my bed.  I knew that eventually I'd get a call from the hotel staff informing me that he'd overdosed and was dead or a cop would be telling me they found Dave's car wrecked and he was dead.  Too many nights I finally fell asleep at 2 or 3 am, exhausted from that worry.  Though we had never discussed it, intuitively, I knew he was suicidal.  I would feel sheer relief when he returned, but the grayness followed him and honestly, it wasn't him anymore.  He was this shell of the person I fell in love with.  I didn't know him anymore.

I encouraged him to call a therapist.  He didn't.

I encouraged him again to call a therapist.  He didn't.

I shouted at him to call a fucking therapist so that he could figure out what the fuck was wrong.  He said he couldn't.  Physically, he couldn't.

So I called.  And he went.

Thus began his slow journey back to life.  He's been seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist almost weekly for nearly two years.  

Dave was diagnosed with depression in November of 2011.  He learned that he's probably been suffering from the disease for most of his life.  Upon diagnosis, he immediately began trying various antidepressants.  For a week he'd be up, then down again, and he'd need to try something new.  He landed on one and it sort of worked, but he realized that he was still feeling anxiety (depression and anxiety are kissing cousins, and they are the worst relatives. ever.).  Anyway, he was then prescribed something for anxiety.  We both felt we were getting closer to the source of the problem, but there was something...else.  We couldn't place it, but something was still off.  He would have these graceful highs of tremendous productivity, happiness, and excitement, and then within a week, a day or even an hour, he'd crash and need to spend money, be away, and feel totally hopeless at work.  These were dramatic, blundering, infuriating lows.  After discussing this with his therapist, he was diagnosed with bipolar II.  He was prescribed mood stabilizers and again, we feel closer.  For this reason, talking therapy is as essential as pharmaceuticals for this type mental illness.  He would have still felt "off" if he had given up sessions and just taken his meds.  He would have continued to suffer needlessly.  The combination of pharmaceuticals and talking therapies is essential for the regulation of chemicals in Dave's brain.

As a spouse, it's really hard sometimes.  I feel angry that his brain attacks him.  I feel frustrated that I have been robbed of the experience that ideal, freakishly-wrong-but-I-still-want-it "Leave It To Beaver" family.  I have felt resentful at times that I've spent time and energy dancing around his illness, ensuring that nothing happens that will send him spiraling south.  I've felt frustrated for my own experience.  Sometimes I just don't want to have to deal with it.  More often, though, I've been angry FOR HIM.  I am angry that his brain has blocked joy, that he has never really felt the instinct to nurture our kids and that he sometimes felt emptiness while holding his babies.  I feel angry for him that negative thoughts pervade his thoughts and pollute his joy.

Dave will probably never get better, but he fights every single day to get closer.  He is a one man army and most days, he is winning.  He will probably be medicated for the rest of his life.  This is what he needs  to experience joy and to live a full, satisfying life, which he is entitled to.  This is essential for Dave to not suffer.  This is what he needs to not kill himself.  Depression hurts physically and mentally, and it is unnecessary.

Depression is a chemical imbalance like diabetes or hypothyroidism, and we would never expect one to conquer those two conditions without medication.  Depression is insidious because it pervades the thought process.  It infects even the happiest, most joyful moments and corrupts memories.  We all need to talk about that, to get a firm grasp on reality, because what's happening in a depressed brain, what that brain is perceiving about life and experience isn't fucking real.  It's a sham, a great fleecing, a royal, outright lie.  Life is good and beautiful.  It's not perfect all the time.  But it's mostly good and everybody deserves feel that joy.

This worked for us: me calling the therapist and Dave going to the therapist.  Dave takes his medication because he wants to feel better.  He has recently taken control of his illness by finding his own doctors in our new city.  This is HUGE.  This will not work for everyone.  I know of a couple who encouraged each other to get treated and they are now both (wait for it) happy.  You can be happy.  Your spouse can be happy.

While talking with an old friend last week about Dave, he kind of danced around asking me about Dave's illness by saying, "I hope you don't mind me asking, but...".  No, I don't mind.  I want you to ask me.  This experience with mental illness is tattooed on my soul.  I will never not have this experience, and I am not ashamed or embarrassed to live with it.  Please ask me about it.  Please talk about it.  Please release yourself from the stigma of mental illness.  There is nothing to be ashamed of.  I view Dave's illness as an unwelcome intruder in our lives.  Always on the periphery, waiting for the right cue to make a grand entrance and steal the show, Dave and I work together to keep it in the shadows, where it belongs.

I will end this with some final thoughts:

1)  Dave's therapist encouraged me to read Andrew Solomon's book The Noonday Demon so that I might understand Dave's experience.  I am eternally grateful to her, and I cannot recommend this book enough.  I learned so much about him and felt comfortable talking about this age-old illness.  This book is practically a handbook for anyone experiencing depression either first- or second-hand.  Please order it from the link above and read it.  Your view of depression will change for the better.  I promise.

2)  Dave encourages you to read comedian Rob Delaney's personal account of depression.  Dave connected with this piece on a deeply personal level and hopes that other people suffering will also learn they are not alone.  They are not alone.  He also hopes that others will seek medical help so that they might experience joy again.

3) Never give up on life.  Never underestimate the power of kindness and love.  Every person deserves to feel joy and happiness.  If one drug doesn't work, try something new.  But do not give up on the possibility of a bright future.  It takes time and work, but anything worth having is worth fighting for.  Joy is worth the fight.

P.S.  Allie from "Hyperbole and a Half" created a beautiful piece about her journey back from the depths of depression.  If you're in for a tear-filled laugh, please read.


End of Chapter 1

Man, it got ugly there for a minute.

And by minute, I mean 6 years.

Anybody can start from the beginning of this project and figure out that nothing’s been easy for a while.  But if you read through, you’ll find a common theme of hope.  I have never given up hope.  Far away from the soul-crushing anomalies and beneath the omnipresent darkness, I detected light and hope and believed I would get there.

But, nothing will fuck with your head like the feeling of failure.  Nothing.  Once somebody has told you that you failed, no matter how small or insignificant that thing is, that feeling is emblazoned in your heart and mind as the one thing you perpetually dodge but always court.  No matter what you try, what risk you take, what goal you set to accomplish, that hissing, tsking voice is there.  Reminding you of that one time…

But what if you didn’t fail?  What if that was somebody’s boneheaded perception of events or their own issue that led them to criticize somebody else’s work or life?  See, here’s what I’m asking.  What if there was no such thing as failure?

As evidence, I’d like to submit Shitstorm 2006-2012.  This six year long whirlwind of bullshit left me with two options:
1.       Bitterness.  I could rise up full of righteous rage for all the injustices we endured, cutting myself off from people and places who didn’t help or should have helped or tried to help but just missed the mark.  I would wither and die, desiccating like seaweed at low tide.
2.       Introspective.  I could spend some time thinking about life and love and the things that really matter in the world.  I could take those lessons to heart and change my perspective into one of gratitude, all the while laughing at the forces that tried to break my family.  I would endure and bloom.

Happy for me, I chose option 2.  I’m not tooting my own horn, because I still struggle with want vs. need, luxury vs. necessity, and the desire to scream and yell at walls because my kids won’t go to sleep.  But seriously, nothing will make you appreciate life like seeing somebody come back to life.  And that’s what’s happening.  I never gave up hope that it would get better, and finally, it has.

This month, for the first time in years, I felt OK.  We’ve all decided that kidlet’s school was no bueno, so we’re home schooling in the fall.  We joined a swim team and haven’t been late to practice once, and we’re in love with this experience.  I have a legit vegetable garden.  We paid our bills on time.  I stick to a meal plan.  Mostly.  “We’re OK,” I thought.  “We’re actually doing OK.”

But then I got a phone call and I learned that because I’m lousy at sending cards and I call late on birthdays and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and because I don’t read minds, I needed to go see a therapist.  I was being a bad family member.  Literally.  I was doing irreparable damage to my relationships.  I was failing.
I got two hours of sleep that night, terrified that I’d taken slices of my family members’ hearts, seared them and laughed.  “Am I really an asshole?” I wondered.  Maybe.  I did forget to call at a reasonable hour on Father’s Day and honestly, I don’t send cards.  Am I a self-absorbed piece of crap?  Maybe.  I have a blog and regularly post status updates on Facebook.  Sometimes I call people and talk about myself.  But these claims leveled against me were really harsh.  In anger and confusion, I wrote letters that I’ll never send, defending myself and retaliating with similar petty claims.  I edited and re-edited and then deleted them.  I looked deep inside and asked why somebody could possibly think this about me.

So, I went to see a therapist today.  When I told him all of this, he laughed.  He fucking laughed.  He was like, “So, you’re supposed to remember all of this shit in the midst of dealing with moving 400 miles away, a depressed spouse, leaving your career, your husband changing jobs, finding new schools, finding a better school, finding new doctors, grocery stores, friends, and well, everything else that comes with this kind of change, all while running a household and mothering two small children?  I’m sorry, but you’re doing just fine.”

So I walked out and left all the failure at the door.

When I got that first phone call, my mother-in-law was visiting.  Tearfully, I asked her, “At what age do you get to say, ‘I’m not changing either.’”

“Well, it happens when you like who you are.  It’s not an age or a birthday.  It’s a mental place.”

I think I’m there.  It’s not that I’ll stop learning.  It’s not that I’ll stop growing or trying to be a better person.  That’s as important to me as breathing.  But I’m not going to start sending cards when I’ve never sent them before, simply to appease somebody else’s sense of…whatever the fuck it appeases.   I don’t even know.  I think cards are lame.  I’m going to continue to write about my experience in living.  I’m going to continue to post stories on Facebook.   I'm going to learn how to do math art and revisit calculus and get re-certified as a trainer.  But honestly, I don’t give a shit what anybody thinks anymore.  The point of the story is this:  I’ve come too far and learned too much about myself to have some third party come in and tell me that everything I’ve learned is wrong or simply not good enough.  I actually like myself and the way I live my life!  My kids and my husband are happy.  I am happy.  We overcame by not giving up and have succeeded by emerging happy.  Nobody else gets a say in how we run our life under our roof.  Nobody.

Lesson learned.

So that’s it, I guess.  The bad shit is over and we’re good.  Like really good.  I’ve got new writing projects and I’m excited to share those, but really, if you’ve been reading and supporting, I am so thankful.  Your comments and encouragement let me know that I’d touched on something important.  Writing this blog has been as therapeutic as sitting on a therapist's couch.  Motherhood is the most demanding job on Earth and I continue to find humor among the most exasperating moments.  Really though God/Universe/Spaghetti Monster, I promise I'll continue to write as long as I can just go the rest of my life without my house flooding again.  Really. 

End of Chapter 1


Memorial Day Reflections

To begin, I am a pacifist.  I never, ever agree with war.  I used to, but not anymore.  Words are more impressive than guns; love will always beat hate.  I feel mixed when I immerse myself in places of war like Arlington Cemetery, military museums, and today, the bowels of an aircraft carrier. 

We spent the weekend in San Diego celebrating a wedding.  On our way out of town, we decided to take a tour of the USS Midway.  I felt uneasy paying the price of admission because I felt like I was supporting war.  But because I love my country like a family, I accept and love the best and not-so-best of those I love.  This ship represents my country’s history, and as such is a part of me, and I need to know.  I need to know about my family.

The USS Midway is staffed by an impressive array of veterans whose service spans over 60 years.  We met many docents throughout our tour.  Each of them is a proud volunteer and is exceedingly happy to answer every question you might have.  Steve, who served in Vietnam, lent me the month-by-month records of the Midway’s history.  I learned that the USS Midway spent most of her time assisting military missions.  She served in Vietnam and was the flagship vessel of the Gulf War fleet.  However, she also assisted in humanitarian missions, including the evacuation of over 3, 000 refugees in Saigon and over 1, 800 refugees (I think) when Mt. Pinatubo exploded.  Most of the time, though, she’s been a vessel of war, as she is designed to be.  I visited the War Room, the origin of strategy for the Gulf War.  I felt uneasy in the place where war began.  From Wayne, a retired Marine with a tattoo of a giraffe on his leg (they’re the wife’s favorite), we learned about how planes take off and land safely on deck, how the captain is ALWAYS responsible (even if he’s asleep!), and how to chart a course through the open sea.  We moved on through the tour to the Ready Rooms, the place where pilots would gather to watch movies, read mail or meet before a mission to receive their orders.  Though I didn’t get our docent’s name, he held an impressive stature.  He was tall, confident, and carried an air of authority.  He was kind of a badass.  He talked to us about the functions of the Ready Room and how all the seats are arranged by rank.  Naturally, I gravitated to the seat of the highest ranking officer.  Dave sat next to me.  Just like home, right?  Anyway, at the end of his presentation, I asked him about his service history.  He flew in the US Navy for over 20 years.  Now retired, he spends much of his time on the Midway talking to people about life on an aircraft carrier.  We moved through several Ready Rooms, each adorned with shields of battalions, jackets, medals, and letters.  Each piece of memorabilia churned a swell of pride and sadness because these men, these brave men, left land and all the loving people on it, to fly out into the blue unknown to defend and fight, and hopefully return.  Many did not.  I tried to talk to Dave, but I felt that ol’ sentimental frog in my throat.  I held off.

 As we returned to the lower decks, we saw dozens of veterans out chatting with visitors.  One caught my eye.  An older gentleman sat at a table next to a sign which read, "Talk to a real WWII veteran."  I thought, "What's so special about that?"  To my amazement, somebody was talking to him!  Really?

And I realized, in a lightning bolt moment, that my childhood was special and unusual.  That even as I loathe war, I cannot deny the countless times I watched my grandfathers sit together on our patio swapping stories from World War II.  Though my mother’s father flew out of England and my father’s father sailed through the Pacific, they are joined in the eternal brotherhood of men who defended our country in a war of the world.  I noticed the line of people waiting to speak to this man, and I realized that mine was not the experience of every child. 

I grew up with the distinct privilege of hearing real stories from real heroes and seeing real tears shed from decades-old wounds.  Their stories have become an undeniable part of me.  Though my father denied for many years the legitimacy of his service, recently he has accepted his place in our nations’s history.  He served our country in the Air Force.  He assisted young men as they flew out of Vietnam.  I asked him once about a good memory he had from that time.  He told me, “Once, these guys were on a plane coming home, and when we lifted off, the whole plane erupted in cheers.”

I learned early that some wounds never heal.

About two weeks before he died, I got to visit one last time with my grandfather.  We went out to breakfast, and in the course of our small talk, he said, “Boy, when I left San Francisco and left for the Pacific, I didn’t know if I’d come back.”  I imagine that all the men and women who serve share a similar sentiment because, as we all know, they don’t all come back.

With one hour left in Memorial Day, I reflect that I’ve spent my life with conflicting feelings.  I love veterans but hate war.  Does hating war mean that I’m disrespecting veterans?  I don’t think so, though many may disagree.  I maintain that the finest way to honor a veteran is to find a peaceful solution to a conflict.  Less war means fewer veterans.  Sounds pretty good!  I dislike emotional and physical wounds.  I dislike political games.  I dislike unnecessary death.  My position on war is independent of my feelings towards those who serve.  I’ve seen my grandfathers’ faces when they talk.  It’s what they don’t say – that’s what should never have been seen.  But, they saw it and then they lived lives in dignity and honor for their families and country.  I take pride in knowing that their legacy is part of my story.  I want peace so badly, and it is because of these great people who see, hear, smell, taste, and touch that which no human should ever have to experience at the hands of another.  Yet I am profoundly grateful to them every day.  I cannot help but shake hands with folks in uniform and say, “Thank you”, and wish them good luck.  And sometimes shout, "HAPPY VETERAN'S DAY!" to the guy in uniform at the airport CPK eating his pizza on Veteran's Day.  He shouted, "Thank you!" right back and some people clapped. 
Seriously, the real people in that uniform are a big deal to me. 

Seriously.  War sucks. 

Today I mourned the loss of those who served.  Today I remembered those who went away and came back, but lost themselves on the battlefield.  Though still with us in body, they are forever changed.  Today I thank those who might help them regain their sense of self again, that they might live out the promise of a life well-lived.  Today I remember those who put on a uniform, yet are no longer with us.  Today I thank the spouses, children, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and friends who supported them.

Let us honor our veterans and love peace equally.


An Open Letter to the Teachers at the Special Ed School Behind My House

Dear Teachers,

The first thing I heard was the rattle of the gate, which I thought was odd because it was the middle of the day.  Everybody who might hop the fence should be in school, but somebody wasn’t.  Then I heard you.

“Adam*,” you asked, “Why did you climb over the fence?”

“Because I’m sick of this,” he yelled.  “You guys are mean and unfair.”

You answered in a calm voice, asking how and why, saying again and again, “I want to understand why you are upset.”  You repeated over and over, “I want to talk to you.”

"You guys are..." Adam shouted, each time leveling a new accusation upon you.  Unfair, mean, monsters, hateful.

You unlocked the gate, and he asked, “Are you unlocking the gate?”

“Yes,” you replied.  I heard you tell him that another teacher was on his way to the other side of the alley, and then Adam took off.  It was too late, though, because the other teacher was there.

I considered calling the police because I was concerned for your safety, but your voices held me back.  You stayed so calm.  You were so remarkably calm.  I heard the struggle in Adam’s voice, the rage, the fury at not being understood and wanting to lash out at every force that lashed against him in the world, and I heard your calm voices.  I heard you say again and again, “We want to keep you safe.”  And I knew it was true because he could very easily have run into the street.

I think Adam was pinned to the ground.  He sounded so angry, threatening you, telling you he wanted to hit you or kick you or something worse, and you stayed so calm.  You spoke so quietly and respectfully and compassionately to this boy, this boy!, who was obviously struggling, and you wanted so badly for him to get up and walk back into school under his own power.  You gave him more chances than I’ve ever given my kids.

You worked with him for a long time and I do not know the outcome.  I stopped listening because hearing children struggle hurts my soul.

But I want to pass this along.  Your extraordinary compassion, patience, and love testify your dedication to the life of this student.  I never heard you complain.  You never blamed him.  You never accused him.  You simply repeated, “We want to keep you safe.”

I don’t know what it all means.  It might mean nothing.  It might mean that your high level of training, experience, and knowledge make occurrences like this commonplace.  But for me, it wasn’t.  For me, this experience highlighted the difference between your job and everybody else’s.   Most folks who walk into an office don’t deal with threats of getting punched in the ribs by someone they love.  They won’t deal with the possibility of that person’s relatives working against them.  They won’t deal with the whims of a system that willfully leaves this child underfunded and his teachers overworked and underpaid.  It means that you and this child perpetually get less, yet you need and deserve so much more.

I guess I just want to say that what I heard broke my heart into a thousand pieces and yet, each day you come to work, yours gets broken, repaired, and re-broken on a daily basis.  It’s part of the job.  You are amazing.

That’s all I’ve got.

*The boy's name has been changed.



Every night, I begin screaming on the inside around 5 o’clock.  The trigger begins around 4:45.  Here’s how it goes:

                “Mom, I’m hungry.”
                “Mom, I want a snack.”
                “I know you’re hungry.  You just had a snack an hour ago.  I’m going to start dinner soon.”

I begin whining on the inside. I want them to not ask me for anything because they’ve been asking me for stuff, food, help, drinks since 7 am.  I want a little bit of a reprieve.  I want help.  But nobody is coming to the rescue for another hour, at least.  I begin to want to cry.
Fifteen minutes later, I’ve made it into the kitchen and am pulling veggies, cans of beans, maybe some pasta, or leftovers out onto our shiny counters.  The whiny-dialogue begins again, only this time they’re in the kitchen, underfoot, in the fridge, in the cupboards, at the counter:

                “Mom, can I have some yogurt?”
                “Mommy, I’m thirsty.  Can I have some hot chocolate?”
                “I’m making dinner right now.  Why don’t you go build a train track while you wait?”

It is not an angry “no”, for neither of my children direct rage or fury towards me.  Instead, theirs is a response full of self-pity and disbelief.  Their whine cries, “How on Earth can you expect me to survive the next half hour while I wait for you to prepare the bounty of food you intend to place before us on our table?”  Verbatim.

Sometimes I’m fine.  Sometimes I can tolerate everything and this common refrain rolls off me like oil in a hot pan.  I move through the evening calm, unperturbed, amused even, that this is my daily grind.  Every once in a while, I even enjoy it and I think, “These are treasured days.”

Other times, I’m not fine.  Those times, I feel suffocated and this refrain sticks to me like hot iron and I’m treading, trying to keep my head above water.  My heart beats fast and I take a sip of wine and it doesn’t help.  My head still feels light.  I’ve been known to walk out of the room and suck in big gulps of air.  I  want to feel the air at the bottom of my lungs because that’s what feels best.

I want to feel my lungs full of air.  And I know exactly why.  Full lungs and partially full lungs are the difference between a mediocre run and a great run.  The start of a run is a battle of wills.  My mind needs some clarity and my muscles fight viciously against my method of attaining it.  I hear things like, “I didn’t eat enough food” or “I’m thirsty” or “I didn’t sleep enough” for the first few minutes.  After beating through that jungle, I spend the next few minutes trying to sync my feet and breath.  I like taking 5-6 steps for every inhale and another 5-6 steps for every exhale.  Depending on terrain, I try to maintain this rhythm.  It is a song I have been fine-tuning for three decades.  Sometimes it’s more of a jazzy, interpretive piece.  I’ll know where I’m going but have no idea how I’m going to get there.  I run at an irregular pace and my breathing is inconsistent.  Those runs are usually mediocre, sometimes good.  Those times, I'm struggling for rhythm, and before I know it, it's over.  Other times, my run is an opera.  Those days are my favorite days.  Every step is a melody, perfect and pure and sure.  On those days, I breathe deep and my lungs fill up, expand into deep, massively stretched bladders of air and my back releases pent up tension and my face relaxes and I can just keep going forever.  I have been known to smile stupidly.

At five o’clock, I try to mimic the latter.  But it usually doesn’t work.  I clearly need pharmaceutical intervention.

I talked about the witching hour with my neighbor one night.  I admitted how confounded I felt, unable to maintain control of my emotions at the clock ticked towards five and everybody begins to lose it.  My neighbor, an older woman who raised two girls alone, said simply, “Oh, when my girls were young, I wanted to wipe the 5 off the clock.”

I took a deep breath.  I wasn’t alone.  Other mothers shared my experience and felt the same way!  I am not crazy or incompetent or an asshole parent.  This experience is just part of this season in my life.

Not long after ourconversation, I accepted an invitation out to a Mom’s Night Out.  I hadn’t been out in a while and I freaking needed to get out bad.  I asked my neighbor if she could watch the kids, and she obliged happily.  When she arrived that night, she smiled and told me I looked nice.  She took my hand, placed a $20 bill in my palm, and said, “Have fun.”


It's My Birthday Week!

Well, technically it's on Saturday, but I decided I'd have a Birthday Week this year.  When I told Dave, he said, "It's about time because every other woman I know does!"  My birthday week is a celebration of the things I love most.  Yesterday I made bird feeders with Marcus and last night we had a family movie night.  It was a Monday and we all watched "Toy Story".  Super treat!  Today I'm treating myself to a long writing session, a good run, and a craft with my kids.  But I'm also hankering for something else.  Here it is.

For my birthday this year, I want charity.  Seriously.  I want you to donate $5 (or more) to a charity.  Do you have a favorite that you already contribute to?  If not, ask yourself, "What do I care about?"  Do you care about free speech?  Do you care about education?  Do you care about cheetahs in South Africa?  Do you care about feeding the hungry or fostering children?  What about cancer or HIV or depression?  Perhaps soccer camps for kids?  WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU?  Today is a perfect day for you to do something about it.

I've compiled a list of charities that are important to me for various reasons.  Some charities benefit scientists who are working to find a cure for cancer.  Others aid children born with cleft lips and cleft palates.  Still others match foster animals with their forever homes.  If one of these organizations speaks to you, please give today.  I'd love to hear about it, but you're also welcome to hold it inside.  You never regret giving to others.

Help someone else today.  That's all I really want.


Today, you can


Today, you can


Today, you can


Today, you can

Social Justice

Today, you can


Today, you can


Today, you can

  • support Blue Kitabu's environmentally and financially sustainable education programs in Ghana.
  • support children in Swaziland receive love and education at the New Hope Centre.  (This is a faith-based organization).
  • help children in war-torn countries at Unicef.

This, my friends, is the short list.  There are SO many mouths to feed and we all have so much to give, and if you've got a favorite, go today to give $5.   Your change jar can change somebody's life.

Please please please give $5!  That's it!  If you want to give more, please do.  But support people who are giving their lives to make life better.

Today, you can.

Thank you.