Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blue Moon - December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve 'blue moon' to ring in the 2010 celebrations.

Partygoers ringing in 2010 this evening will be treated to the unusual sight of a blue moon. According to popular definition, a blue moon is the second full moon in a month. Ancient cultures around the world considered the second full moon to be spiritually significant.

A full moon occurred on Dec. 2 and it will appear again this evening in time for the New Year's countdown. If you're in Times Square, you'll see the full moon right above you.

The New Year's Eve blue moon will be visible in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America and Africa. In Australia and Asia, the full moon does not show up until New Year's Day, making January a blue moon month for them.

A full moon occurs every 29.5 days, and most years have 12. On average, an extra full moon in a month — a blue moon — occurs every 2 1/2 years. The last time this happened was in May 2007.

The popular definition of blue moon came about after a writer for Sky & Telescope magazine in 1946 misinterpreted the Maine Farmer's Almanac and labeled a blue moon as the second full moon in a month. In fact, the almanac defined a blue moon as the third full moon in a season with four full moons, not the usual three. Though Sky & Telescope corrected the error decades later, the definition caught on.

For purists, however, this New Year's Eve full moon doesn't even qualify as a blue moon. It's just the first full moon of the winter season.

When you hear someone say "Once in a blue moon" you know that they are usually talking about something rare or unusual.

The term 'blue moon' dates back at least 400 years. According to modern folklore, a blue moon is the second full moon in a calendar month. February is the only month that can never have a blue moon.

Does the blue moon actually turn blue? No. Blue moons are rare, and that's where the phrase "once in a blue moon" comes from. There are occasions though when pollution in the Earth's atmosphere can make the moon look particularly bluish. The extra dust scatters blue light.

The moon appeared blue across the entire Earth for about two years after the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883. There were also reports of blue moons caused by Mount St Helen's in 1980 and Mount Pinatubo in 1991.

A New Year's Eve like this year's really does come around once in a blue moon. For the first time since 1990, we will be able to ring in the New Year under the light of a blue moon. The next blue moon to occur on New Year's Eve will not be until 2028.

As for me, I plan to be at the ‘dropping of the ball’ this evening at midnight. Yes, we have the same event as New York City right here in Buffalo, New York. It is a great community event with an alcohol free party at the local convention center for several hours before midnight. Everyone is invited, especially families with children and at midnight they will have a firework display.

I feel excited and I agree with the ancient astronomers that the blue moon is definitely spiritually significant.

So, eyes upward this evening and take a look at Mother Nature’s gift to us.

photo from Astronomy picture of the day archives

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Messenger - The Army Casualty Notification Team

Over the years I have attended many military funerals. The Honor Guard is usually made up of very young men who take obvious pride in the ceremony as they fold the flag and the bugler plays ‘taps’. It is obvious that they feel it is important to honor the person who served their country during war and peace times.

This week I viewed a movie called ‘The Messenger’ where the entire film is centered on the subject of notifying the next of kin.

Ben Foster stars as Will, a U.S. Army sergeant who has returned home from the Iraq War after risking his life to save fellow soldiers. He is still recuperating from very serious injuries and has six months of active service left in the military. He is then assigned the task of working as an Army Casualty Notification Officer alongside Woody Harrelson who plays Tony, his senior officer.

Will is not happy about the new assignment but being a good soldier he goes through the motions. It soon becomes apparent that his Captain (Tony) is like a robot as he gives the instructions “just deliver the message, do not engage in conversation, do not offer words of sympathy and above all, do not touch the family member receiving the news.” In other words ‘show no compassion whatsoever.’

We look on as mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, pregnant girlfriends, sons and daughters collapse in tears, rage, pain, and denial. The viewer is pulled into the emotions of the hurt and pain, and the reality of the effects of war. There is very little happiness found in this film and if you are an anti-war film moviegoer this film will give you more incentive to protest against war.

These are the stories we don't often hear about. We don't hear about them because they are depressing. To hear about the many that die and the effect their deaths have on their families wouldn't make for highly rated prime time news.

If filmmakers are looking to tap into audiences more interested in the blood and gore shown in most films about war, ‘The Messenger’ might not be of interest but the viewer will become aware of the plight our soldiers and their families are facing.

This is a moving drama that takes a home-front look at the collateral damage of our current desert wars. The film puts us on the front porches of the families left behind and gives us a glimpse of the pain as Will and Tony deliver the worst possible news.

It also explores many of the core issues raised by any war -- loss, love, friendship, betrayal, duty and honor, and especially the Twilight Zone, that state of uncertainty, the unsettled state or condition - the very experience that separates those who have lived through battles and the rest of us. It lets us know that the soldier rarely returns home an unchanged person.

Though Will is mostly recovered from his combat wounds, and the chest full of ribbons that say he's a hero do little to assuage his survivor's guilt.

Later, while drinking beers in a bar, Tony says that the funeral of each and every dead American veteran should be televised. And that seems to be what Oren Moverman, who co-wrote the script with Alessandro Camon, is trying to do: bring home the loss behind each American casualty statistic, magnified by the grieving family members left behind and filtered through the guilt of the men who make it back alive. The Messenger achieves that goal very well.

If you follow my blog you will have noticed that I frequently post the current numbers of persons who have been killed since the U. S. involvement in the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I do this because I feel that these men and women and their families have become invisible to the public eye.

I recognized that film was shot on location around Fort Dix, New Jersey, the very area that I spent three years of my life meeting the planes of those wounded in Vietnam.

The movie tell us that within 24 hours of any soldier's death, the Casualty Notification Officers must locate the next of kin and deliver the barest of facts: when, where and how the soldier died, and little else. No hugs, no empathy, no help -- there are other soldiers who will follow offering some of that.

What it does not mention is that during the past 6+ years


U.S. families have received the knock of death on their door.

The movie has a small romance theme at one point but the purpose is to send the message of how war effects people. They do this by sending “The Messenger”.

If it is not too heavy for you - check it out!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy News - Bambi and Thumper Really Do Exist

I wanted to share these wonderful photos that were sent to me by a friend.

It proves that Bambi and Thumper really do exist :-)

For the millions of people who have read their story
this is indeed 'Happy News'

As you know they were depicted on the screen as cartoon characters.

These photos prove a real live friendship between the two.

Here Bambi seems to be nibbling affectionately on Thumper's ear

They certainly seem comfortable together

Sheltering together from the upcoming snowstorm

We survived the storm and now we can have some fun
running around in the snow

Such true friends!
If you have trouble believing this
- just believe that I believe!



Here is the wonderful photographer Tanja Askani of Nindorf, Germany
playing with some of her friends that she has photographed.

Thank you Tanja for showing us life as you see it through your lens.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy News - Secret Santa

Kansas' new Secret Santa gives away about $14K

Wearing an 'Elf' hat, the Kansas City Secret Santa distributes $100 bills to people at a Kansas City, Kan. thrift store Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

By MARIA SUDEKUM FISHER, Associated Press Writer

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – A terminal cancer patient left a Kansas City-area hospital wondering how he would pay $100 for antibiotics to treat his recent bout with pneumonia.

The answer walked through the retired police officer's door Wednesday clad in a red coat and cap — a Secret Santa bearing a gift of $2,000.

His house was the first stop for a man who is picking up where Kansas City's original Secret Santa, Larry Stewart, left off. Stewart had spent years anonymously handing out $100 bills, sometimes in stacks, around Christmastime before he died in 2007.

By day's end, the new Secret Santa had doled out about $14,000 across the city.

"Around here, the word we use is miracle. And that's what that was," the teary-eyed cancer patient 47, said of his visitor.

The new Secret Santa had been out several times with Stewart, who gave away about $1.3 million over more than two decades. When Stewart was hospitalized before his death at age 58, the new Secret Santa told Stewart he would carry on the tradition.

He has. And then some. The new Secret Santa has hand-picked about 20 others who now anonymously hand out their own money in December in cities nationwide, including Phoenix; Charlotte, N.C.; Detroit; Ventura, Calif., and Tulsa, Okla.

Altogether, they expect to give out between $250,000 to $300,000 this year.

"But we don't really work with a budget," Kansas City's Secret Santa said. "We work from the heart."

All the Secret Santas ask when they hand over $100 bills — sometimes two or three or even 20 at a time — is that the recipient do something kind for someone else. Cash is good, but so are hugs and nice words.

"When you see the looks on the people's faces and they say there was no hope in my life. But now they have it. It's a great feeling," she said.

After giving thousands of dollars Wednesday to people in several thrift stores in Kansas City, Kan. — drawing tears, laughs, hugs and shock — Santa's last stop was an old downtown building where a police detective recently spent about $20,000 of his own money to open a boxing gym for city kids. Many of them are at-risk, Greg Conchola said, simply because "there's nothing for them to do."

"Oh my God," Conchola uttered as he accepted $2,000 from Secret Santa, who said he has a special place in his heart for law enforcement.

"I usually tell folks you got to pass the kindness on," Secret Santa told Conchola. "But in your case, just keep doing what you're doing."


Think about it - if someone has done something nice for you pass the kindness along.

It will make the world a happier place.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Total # of U.S. Troops Killed in Iraq and Afghanistan Wars – 5,305

Total # of U.S. Troops Killed in Iraq and

Afghanistan Wars – 5,305

Well it has happened. Recently President Obama announced plans to deploy 30,000 additional troops in Afghanistan. This is extremely troubling but it is consistent with the statements that he made during the presidential campaign when he said that he would increase war efforts in Afghanistan.

In a new USA Today/Gallup Poll, only 36% said the decision to send 30,000 troops was right, and 73% worried that the costs of the war will make it more difficult to deal with problems at home. A national poll of young adults by the Harvard Institute of Politics found that 66% oppose sending more troops to Afghanistan.

There are protest rallies and campaigns taking place around the country and around the world. Most of those who are taking part are the seasoned Anti-War protesters who have been speaking out against war for many years.

My question is this: “Where are the 73% of citizens who are concerned about the cost of the war? Are they willing to make a stand that will take them off their sofas and into the streets? At the very least are they willing to write a letter or make a telephone call to their member of Congress?”

Continuing the war in Afghanistan and increasing the troops will not protect us. Instead, it will take the lives of more U.S. military personnel and will kill and injure countless Afghani civilians. The surge will cost $30 billion additional dollars, in a war that has already cost taxpayers over $228 billion. This country is experiencing the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression. The budget destined for an increased military program will take resources that should be used for healthcare, education, and jobs.

If you are concerned about these statistics please call your member of Congress at 202-224-3121 with a simple, clear message to let them know your opinion.

Take a look at these up to date statistics and if you find them upsetting –



Total # of U.S. Casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan 5,305

American Military Casualties in Iraq

Since war began (3/19/03): 4371

Since Obama Inauguration (1/20/09): 124

American Wounded Official Estimated

Total U.S.Wounded: 31,582 Over 100,000

Latest Fatality Dec 12, 2009

Daily DoD Casualty Release

320,000 Vets Have Brain Injuries

18 Vet Suicides Per Day?

Iraqi Casualties – 1,339,771

Other Coalition Troops - Iraq 325

US Military Deaths - Afghanistan 934

Other Military Deaths - Afghanistan 604

Contractor Employee Deaths - Iraq 1,395

Journalists - Iraq 335

Academics Killed - Iraq 431

Sources: DoD, MNF, and

If you stand for nothing - you will fall for anything
Speak out loudly - today!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tiny Ears Found on Butterfly's Wings

Tiny ears found on butterfly's wings

Butterflies were thought to be deaf until 1912

Scientists have discovered that a species of butterfly has tiny ears on its wings, according to LiveScience .

U.K. and Canadian scientists say the blue morpho butterfly, which lives in Central and South America, can distinguish between high and low pitch sounds. They believe the butterfly may use the ears to listen in on nearby predatory birds.

Butterflies were thought to be deaf until 1912 when the first butterfly ears were identified. In the past 10-15 years researchers have examined the anatomy and physiology of butterfly ears, which they are finding to be quite diverse and present in several butterfly species.

Scientists said the ear is located at the base of the wing and looks like a sheet of stretched rubber. The oval-shaped tympanal membrane, with an unusual dome in the middle, is attached directly to sensory organs and is responsible for converting sound waves into signals that can be picked up by nerve cells.

Because the butterfly's ear can distinguish between different pitches, it makes it unique among other insects that can hear.

"Not a lot of ears are able to do that," Kathleen Lucas of the University of Bristol in England told LiveScience. "The moth ear is a simple responding ear; it listens to a certain frequency range, and it doesn't matter what frequency it is within that range, [the moth] hears it and initiates an escape response."

Most insects can hear . Insects use sounds produced by vibration to communicate with other insects, and to navigate their environment. Grasshoppers and crickets are other insects that use tympanal organs to hear.

By MIKE BRODY, Special Contributor


Mother Nature is amazing - I love to learn more and more about her incredible mysteries.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy News - Susan Boyle is a Winner Indeed

Scottish singing sensation Susan Boyle's debut album "I Dreamed a Dream" has shot straight to the top of the US charts, according to Nielsen SoundScan. (

I was visiting my family in England this past April when Susan Boyle appeared on TV in this year’s “Britain’s Got Talent” competition.

When she walked onto the stage, she told the judges that she would love to be in Musical Theatre. She said that she would love to be like Elaine Paige. Competition Judge Simon Cowell smirked.

However, as soon as Susan Boyle opened her mouth to sing, the judges’ jaws started to drop in amazement. She sang, “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables, with the voice of an angel. Both the audience and the judges were stunned and as she finished her song, she received a standing ovation from the audience.

In the following days the media hounded her and wrote several ‘mean spirited’ remarks ridiculing her. Susan survived the media and finished in the finals of the competition. No, she did not win the “Britain’s Got Talent” competition, but she won the hearts of everyone who heard her sing.

It has been widely reported that Michelle Obama would like to have Miss Boyle perform at her 46th birthday party on January 17 next year. The special, private performance would also double as a celebration of President Obama’s first year of office. An offer to Miss Boyle has not been officially made yet, but it is believed that the invitation is to arrive to her soon.

“The President and First Lady absolutely love her voice and will be delighted if she agrees,” an unnamed White House spokesperson said.

Interest in Susan Boyle, as unlikely a star as she is, stunning for her incredible crystal clear and strong voice. Everyone is talking about her.

There is an official Susan Boyle Fan club online and a TV Special ‘I Dreamed a Dream: The Susan Boyle Story’, will air on Sunday 13th December at 8/7c exclusively on the TV Guide Network in the US, and Sunday, 13th December 2009, 9:30pm – 10:30pm on ITV in the UK.

The program is described as being a candid documentary of Susan Boyle’s journey from the small village of Blackburn in rural Scotland to international fame and fortune following her inspiring Britain’s Got Talent performance.

To be propelled from complete anonymity to global super stardom and having more than 300 million people downloading her on YouTube is an extraordinary transformation.

I do not have access to cable vision so I will not be able to watch the documentary, however, I do plan to buy the CD. I have been watching her story closely in the media and I became a fan from the first moment I heard her sing in England.

It is refreshing to see such a pure spirit soaring on high.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hello Darling, How Was Your Day At Work Today?

"Hello darling, how was your day at work today?"

May be the question being asked by the spouses of the Reaper drone pilots.

The Syracuse Air National Guard at Hancock Field, New York is now operating Reaper drones from afar.

John Berry / The Post-Standard

The Reaper control station in Syracuse, New York operated by National Guardsmen, features a terminal with joy sticks and monitors. Master Sgt. Daniel Olmstead shows the seats where a pilot and a sensor operator sit at Hancock Airfield.


The following excerpts are taken from an article By Dave Tobin, of the Syracuse Post-Standard,December 07, 2009:

National Guardsmen pursue the enemy in Afghanistan with a joystick in Syracuse, carefully confirming targets, but distancing fighters from their foes.

Flight crews of the 174th Fighter Wing in Syracuse now commute daily to war. Leaving their homes and families, they pass through the security gate at Hancock Airfield, park outside the Reaper operation center, swap computer stations with the previous shift and sometimes take over control of an armed, remote-controlled Reaper already cruising the sky over Afghanistan, 7,000 miles away.

The future of warfare has come to Central New York, changing the way war is fought. From a safe seat at a computer terminal in Syracuse, the unmanned flights can appear virtual. They are not.

Last Wednesday the guard announced that it was flying its first Reaper wartime missions around the clock. Commanders have been reticent to speak about the mission and pilots and crews asked not to be identified publicly.

The unit’s transition from flying F-16 fighter jets in theater to operating unmanned aircraft from the suburbs has assured the future of the base at Hancock Field. In 2008, former U.S. Rep. James Walsh, who helped land tens of millions of dollars in federal tax money for the base, marveled at the prospect of the coming capability: “The pilots could be literally fighting a war in Iraq and at the end of their shift go home and be playing with their kids in Camillus.”

Last week, it came to pass. The Syracuse Air National Guard unit is the first in the nation to fly the remotely controlled Reaper. The craft carries up to four anti-armor missiles and two 500-pound bombs.

Ground-based crews of Reapers can launch missiles and bombs, too, a capability that critics say further detaches pilots from their victims.

The Reaper “makes it a lot easier to kill,” said Chris Hedges, a former war correspondent who grew up in Syracuse. The Reaper has already changed the 174th Fighter Wing, of the unit’s 31 F-16 fighter pilots eleven took Reaper positions within the wing, swapping a pilot’s seat for a computer chair.

This year’s Air Force budget allotted $11 million to support Reaper operations at Hancock.

Reapers are flown with a four-person team: a pilot, a sensor operator (who controls and monitors what the Reaper cameras see), a communications expert and an intelligence expert. Currently all Reaper pilots with the 174th have actual flight experience and a commercial pilot’s license. The Air Force, however, is experimenting with a group of new Reaper pilots who have never flown a real plane.

“The training is really geared toward a younger generation that has experience operating video games,” said Lindsay Voss, a defense industry analyst with Frost & Sullivan. Unmanned drones are “basically operated with the kind of joystick you hook up with a PlayStation.”

Peace groups have protested outside the 174th's base. They say the technology makes war easier to initiate and makes the Syracuse base a target.


Military recruiters are targeting high school students, most of whom have years of experience playing computer games. Has anyone given thought to what will happen to these young drone ‘pilots’ when it hits them that they personally have killed many, many people.

Also, has anyone given thought to how we would feel knowing that drones are aimed at us in our homes by persons in another part of the world? I am sure that it will not take long for this to happen.

Does anyone else but me think that this is morally wrong? Please let me know your thoughts on this.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Happy News

Overdue library books returned half century later

PHOENIX – A high school librarian in Phoenix says a former student at the school returned two overdue books checked out 51 years ago along with a $1,000 money order to cover the fines.

Camelback High School librarian Georgette Bordine says the two Audubon Society books checked out in 1959 and the money order were sent by someone who wanted to remain anonymous.

Bordine says the letter explained that the borrower's family moved to another state and the books were mistakenly packed.

The letter said the money order was to cover fines of 2 cents per day for each book. That would total about $745. The letter says the extra money was added in case the rates had changed.

Bordine says the money will buy more books, and the overdue books will be returned to the shelves.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Helpful Hint - How To Give A Cat A Pill

I received this from a friend recently -
it gave me a chuckle so thought I would pass it along to you :-)

How To Give A Cat A Pill

1. Pick up cat and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth, pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

2. Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.

3. Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away.

4. Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm, holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.

5. Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse from garden.

6. Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.

7. Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines and vases from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.

8. Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.

9. Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink 1 beer to take taste away. Apply Band-Aid to spouse's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

10. Retrieve cat from neighbor's shed. Get another pill. Open another beer. Place cat in cupboard, and close door onto neck, to leave head showing. Force mouth open with spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.

11. Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges. Drink beer. Fetch bottle of scotch. Pour shot, drink. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus shot. Apply whiskey compress to cheek to disinfect. Toss back another shot. Throw Tee shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.

12. Call fire department to retrieve the damn cat from across the road. Apologize to neighbor who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil wrap.

13. Tie the little “darling’s” front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table, find heavy-duty pruning gloves from shed. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Be rough about it. Hold head vertically and pour 2 pints of water down throat to wash pill down.

14. Consume remainder of scotch. Get spouse to drive you to the emergency room, sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call furniture shop on way home to order new table.

15. Arrange for RSPCA to collect mutant cat from hell and call local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.

How To Give A Dog A Pill

1. Wrap it in bacon.

2. Toss it in the air.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Reflection - Happy News

This week I decided to combine the Sunday Reflection and Happy News Blogs together.

The Following story is inspirational and lets us know what can happen if we just have 'faith the size of a mustard seed'. Wouldn't you agree?

A hole in the roof will be no more


Ten years ago, he first noticed it. A yellow ceiling stain. A water leak. Year after year it grew worse. Bigger. Darker. Sometimes during Sunday services he would glance up and wonder how much longer the old roof had.

Then one morning, in the spring of 2006, he came in after Bible study and saw plaster dust all over the pews, and a big chunk of what had once been the top of his church now, shall we say, more in touch with the Earth?

"We cleaned up the plaster, but it kept getting worse," the Rev. Henry Covington says. "Finally, one of our members climbed up to scrape the drywall, and the more he scraped, the more it came falling out."

There was no stopping the rot. It grew bigger than a man. Bigger than a horse. It became known as "the hole in the roof," a symbol of decay in the once-grand Trumbull Avenue Presbyterian Church, which more than a century ago had been the largest Presbyterian congregation in the Midwest.

These days, the building sits among the crumbling, largely abandoned blocks off Trumbull and Brainard. Covington's congregation, the I Am My Brother's Keeper Ministries, which took over the building, never had the funds to repair the infamous hole. Its members are mostly poor. Several nights a week, the church becomes a shelter for homeless people, who sleep on a gym floor. During the winter, it gets bone-chilling cold. But what can they do? Any attempt to heat the sanctuary goes up and out through the roof hole.

But that is about to change.

A time to celebrate

I wrote about this church in my book, "Have a Little Faith." I wrote about how the heat was turned off last winter because of unpaid bills, and how the congregation -- including many of the homeless clients -- was forced to build a giant plastic tent inside the sanctuary, just to have someplace dry and semi-warm to pray. I wrote about how deep an act of faith that was.

And a funny thing happened.

Despite the worst economic crisis in 75 years, despite every reason to say, "Sorry, can't help you, I have to take care of myself," people were moved.

Some were moved to come serve food to the homeless. Some were moved to send a dollar. Or $5. Dr. Phil was moved to do a show and donate money. A church in California was moved to offer to pay for the building supplies.

A foundation I started called A Hole in the Roof began receiving funds from around the state, then the country, then the world. A campaign was launched on Twitter called "Shingle Bells."

And thanks to that generosity -- from school kids, grandmothers, people of all faiths -- on Monday morning, at 9, a roofing crew will arrive, and will be greeted by some of the most relieved and enthusiastic church members you'll ever see.

And the hole will begin to disappear.

A time to get to work

"If you're willing to stand on faith, even when things seem like they're not going to happen," Covington says, gratefully, "sometimes those things happen. And Monday is the day that comes true."

The homeless churchgoers will sleep there Sunday night -- in anticipation of the construction -- and Monday morning, they will welcome the trucks and help unload the wood, shingles and nails of goodwill toward men.

In this way, the crumbling church of a small congregation becomes newly attached to hundreds around the globe. And in a few weeks, when the job is done, a plaque with the name of every person who made even the smallest contribution will be placed in the ceiling where the rain once poured in.

That's a cool way to plug a hole.

"It's like we were lost in the wilderness, and someone came and rescued us," Covington says. Maybe so. For the first time in years, Christmas at his church will be dry and safe and warm.

But someone gave me a small stone to put in the roof -- it reads "Miracles Happen" -- and while I believe that's true, so is this: All we really have to do is look out for one another, help fix each other's holes, and the miraculous can be an everyday thing.

Detroit Free Press