Making the world a better place: How to give purpose to my words in 2018.


The end of the year before the beginning of the next one is always a period of mixed emotions for me.

I am always pretty happy that I am around to reflect on the past year and to anticipate the year ahead.

On the other hand, there are some years that I wish would stick around just a little bit longer.

This year is one of those years.

Yes, for those who define their life by the political events that occur across this country every single day I admit there are many of you who are only to happy to see the end of 2017.

For a long time, I have chosen not to let politics to any longer calibrate the state of my mental health – for good or bad.

I figured that after nearly 35 years of allowing it to do so that I earned the right to let somebody else carry the baggage and burden of every political event of the day defining the mood of their life.

2017 was, by all measures, a pretty remarkable year.

As a family, we had some fantastic experiences, adventures and successes.

Both son and daughter continued their journey towards adulthood in fashion that suits both of them, their personality and demeanor.

Our dog, while still not liking anybody who doesn’t live inside our house, has grown more plump and anchored to our daily lives.

And, the parents to our children are beginning to think more and more about what life will look like when they decide our services are no longer needed in their lives.

Spare Key and the Team that leads it, both the staff and the Board of Directors, experienced an amazing year as we celebrated the organizations 20th Anniversary.  At our last Board Meeting we began preparing for the opportunities, and challenges, for the next 20 years of helping families “Bounce and not Break.”

I gained the privilege of volunteering with the Naval Sea Cadets program and do what I can to support the organization and yet stay out of the way of my own Sea Cadet who has blossomed and flourished in this wonderful program for young men and women.

I also have been rewarded with a year-end Christmas Gift from my wife to enjoy one of the last evenings of 2017 with my daughter doing one of the things we enjoy most – cooking – at Kitchen Window to bring 2017 to a close.

And, after 40 years of not having a tooth in my upper right-hand side of my mouth I finally had a bridge implanted.

Life is perfectly imperfect. 

Mary-Helen’s car isn’t working.  The dishwasher crashed yesterday.  And, the downstairs window has a leak that lets the cold air in because of the son and his friends using it as an escape hatch to protect themselves from our vicious dachshund/yellow labl/corgi mix dog upstairs.

I didn’t get in the shape I wanted to get in for 2017.  I had peaks and valleys.  Fits and starts.  And, there are days when I feel closer to 64 than 54.

We didn’t win the lottery.  The Packers had a woeful year.  Some good people I know left this world before their time.  My son likes the music of Hall and Oates.

I learned long ago that life isn’t what takes place on Facebook. 

It’s what goes on inside the four walls of your life.

Whether that’s your home.  Your office.  Or, inside your head.

You are only so happy and contented as you allow yourself to be.

There are, of course, limits to this thinking.

If you are poor, hungry, homeless, oppressed, alone, sick and without hope there is little that words of wisdom or motivational quotes will do to change your station in life.

Which is why after a great deal of thought I have decided to change my focus on this blog.

April 2015 was my first post on Mischellaneous.

Since then I have written and published 153 blog posts.

Those posts have ranged from posts about world events, politics, people, my life, my children, our dog and a host of public policy issues.

Yet, as 2017 has inched closer to its end I have realized my need to refocus my thoughts and energy about the world around me.

I’m weary and worn out writing about politics and the people in it.

I’m tired and disillusioned writing about what’s wrong in the world.  It brings me no hope or confidence in a better world ahead.

So, 2018 will be different.  I intend to focus my time and effort on writing about people who are making a positive difference in the world.  People you know about, and people you don’t know about.

I’m going to write about the things people are doing to help those who are poor, hungry, homeless, oppressed, alone, sick and without hope.

I’m going to focus on what you, and I, can do to make the world a better place.

And, I want your help, too.

Perhaps you are one of those people.  Perhaps you know of someone, or an organization or group, that is making a difference out there in big – and small – ways.

Let me help be a small part of bringing attention to what is being done to make this world we all inhabit something better for all of us.

You can email me at if you have a suggestion or an idea about who or what should be shared with others and how they can be a part of making a positive difference in the world.

We all live on the same planet until we are gone from it.

The world we are told about, far too often, is one that sounds like it is falling apart.

I still believe the world we live in is a better world today than it has ever been.

Not for everyone.  But for a lot of us.

For those of us that it isn’t I want 2018 to be the year that I do something more than talk about them. 

I want to share stories of those who are doing something to make their life as good as it is for me, and you and others who have been fortunate to be able to count our blessings on more than one hand.

I want to give concrete pathways for all of us to be the difference we want to be in the world.

I hope you will help me.

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