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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Watch our garden grow

A few weeks back, while on my daily walk, I saw a sign on a church that read:

Want to see some good news? 
Watch our garden grow.

I chuckled to myself for their community garden was weeks away from showing much more than rich brown dirt. As I've passed more recently, there are green sprouts peeking above the ground and more often than not there are two, three, or four volunteers raking, pulling weeds, and happily chatting while still maintaining proper social distancing protocols. They are the embodiment of good news.

This story reminded me of our very own North Okanagan Optimist Club in Vernon, British Columbia.

In April, in the middle of the stay-at-home orders from the COVID-19 pandemic, the North Okanagan Optimist Club optimistically advertised its annual spring fundraiser on Facebook. The club posted: "Deadline is looming (April 19) for you to order your spring flower, herb, succulent or Zonal geranium basket to beautify your landscape while you #stayhome. We are partnering with Bloom Thyme Nursery to continue to 'bring out the best' in our youth and community with the proceeds from this fundraiser. Stay home, stay safe and stay optimistic with a beauty like this in your garden!"

pnw optimist clubs north okanaganAs is the experience for many of our clubs' Facebook pages, there weren't any comments or likes. There were two shares and as I also shared the fundraiser on the PNW Optimist Clubs' Facebook page, I wished them well.

Last week we saw an update from the North Okanagan Optimist Club. Their fundraiser was completed! In addition to saying thank you, they also said: "Stay tuned for our swag and poinsettia sale in December..... something to look forward to over the next few months of social distancing!"

Kudos to the North Okanagan Optimist Club for its perseverance. Most importantly, thank you for making your community brighter with such lovely flowers and succulents as well as with your hopeful spirit.

When we cultivate an optimistic spirit, we can truly watch our gardens grow. We can watch as our positive actions help our communities change for the better.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

We are not being our best

Yesterday, May 30, 2020, in major cities around the United States, riots, and mayhem broke out from peaceful protests that were designed to recognize George Floyd, a black man who was brutally restrained by a police officer in Minneapolis, MN, and died. The officer has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter; and the occurrence brings questions to mind about what it means to be black in America.

I'm not going to espouse my beliefs any more than to say it hurts my heart when I see and hear of such brutality and racism. When Trayvon Martin was murdered eight years ago, I wrote about how we can no longer tolerate intolerance. We have to speak out for and expect only the best behaviors from ourselves, our friends and families, and even those we don't know.

The sorrow that comes from the egregious tragedies that befall my fellow human beings is only deepened by the terrible chaos that followed yesterday's peaceful ceremonies. The world is not acting at its best. 

My message today is so simplistic, I am almost embarrassed to share it, but please know I am not making light of the horrific state of affairs. I absolutely believe that in order to change the world, we have to share a message of hope and influence a climate of goodness. That starts by being our best selves and always putting our best selves forward. Most importantly, we have to expect others to do the same and when they do not, we must hold them accountable for their actions.

pnw optimist clubs promise yourself best

Accountability begins with speaking out when someone is acting against what is good for society. Not every issue is about life and death; however, small decisions shape one's world view. If someone begins making sketchy decisions at any stage in their life, those decisions left unchecked may lead to a worsening of behavior in the future. 

We are not all ethicists, but we can all live by the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. 

Now I will return to my original words, spoken first by Christian D. Larson: Promise yourself to think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best. 

Remember to always be on the best behavior as dictated by the society in which you live. Thank you.

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