Make a Difference

Preparing for a talk on Designing your BEST ThirdThird, I made an icebreaker activity, noting people who made a big difference in their ThirdThird. People like Ronald Reagan (was elected President when he was 70 years old), Lady Bird Johnson (Beautify America), Mother Teresa. They did amazing things in their later years. Impressive.

Reality is that most of us are not going to make some significant difference in a worldwide or even national arena in our ThirdThird.

But, we can make a difference in the world around us, locally and relationally, in our ThirdThird. The differences we will make will most likely be similar to the ways we have been impacting people and situations in our lives so far, so you don’t have to look far or become a difference person to make a difference in someone else’s life.

The real challenge is to figure out what we CAN and SHOULD do to continue to contribute what we know and have experienced, wherever we are.

I am, obviously, interested in people who are making their ThirdThird their BEST Third. My husband has a friend who lives in Mexico City who writes about the great restaurants and food places in her adopted country. She is influencing many to try new foods and to explore new places.

Another friend has begun to create art in her 70’s. She has developed a personal style of expressing her perspective to enjoy life to the fullest in whimsical pieces of art that are selling well. She even offers workshops in her basement studio, encouraging others to express themselves and find an outlet for their creative interests.

I know there are men and women who love to offer their babysitting services to free up their kids to pursue their dreams and careers. An article in the local newspaper highlighted the courtesy car drivers for car dealerships who are mostly retired and make a difference by being interesting and cheerful for their passengers.

The women’s shelter in my community ran into serious financial problems when the State failed to come through with promised funds. When the news was discussed at the dinner table in the dining room of a retirement community, several women decided to get involved. They heard of the plight through another resident, the treasurer for the board of the organization. These 4 women decided to start a “$5000 Club” by each of them giving $5000 to the Shelter. Then, they wrote letters to their friends, inviting them to join their $5000 Club. Before long, their campaign had raised $120,000 and had started a larger awareness that resulted in $350,000 in total revenue raised.

That is making a difference!

So whether it is volunteering to mentor a student or to teach a class or contributing to a cause or reading to a child, you can make a significant difference.




Photo Credit: Amanda Creamer via

Wonder and Memories

A few years ago, I made my first trip to Mexico city.

Dave had been wanting me to experience Mexico City. It is huge… the largest city in our hemisphere and the third largest in the world. I’m not all that into large (huge) cities, but we are reading a book (The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver) about Frida and Diego and Trotsky and the story draws me to see this place. And Dave loves it there.

As we had been talking about our itinerary, it came to me that we could see the butterflies! I love monarch butterflies and the story of them wintering in Mexico intrigues me.



Monarch Butterfly

I have always noticed and loved the monarchs. As I planned that trip, I remembered why. It was the monarch butterfly I “raised” as a girl in Texas.

Somehow, I found a monarch caterpillar and brought it home. My daddy became interested as well and he searched for milkweed plants to bring home to feed my little “pet”. It was not easy, but someone he worked with had a home near a railroad track where there were milkweed plants. It was not a short process, but my daddy was in it with me for the long haul, finding food every day or so for my hungry caterpillar.

And one day, it made a chrysalis. And slept in it, for what seemed, to a young girl, a very, very long time.

One Sunday morning, the chrysalis was black. I was concerned….was it dead? We had to leave it and go to church, with me very concerned. But,when we returned home, it was emerging! That caterpillar had, indeed, transformed into a beautiful, black and orange, Monarch butterfly.

monarch butterfly mexico

I was in awe. What a wonder!

The new butterfly came out wet, with wings scrunched. But we watched as it dried and stretched and unfolded, my Daddy and me. The two of us, together, opened the jar lid and watched as my wonderful butterfly flew away… in all its splendor.

Now, I remember why I am intrigued by monarch butterflies. It is about a sweet memory of a quiet and private man who surprised me, occasionally.





photo credit: DrPhotoMoto Monarch via photopin (license)

photo credit: jennifernish monarch flight via photopin (license)