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Monday, December 27, 2010

Some Real Christmas Cheer

We got our white Christmas after all and are buried under snow here in the northeast!

And it was a beautiful Christmas in Puyallup, Washington, when students at Cascade Christian High School raised more than $13,000 to help their classmate with hemophilia.

Debbie Cafazzo, staff writer for The News Tribune wrote that Allenmykael Harlin-Gonzalez, 17, was hospitalized and needed their help. A bright young man with a 4.0 grade-point average and often in a wheelchair, Allenmykael, on November 24 incurred an infection in his hip joint, his body eventually going into septic shock.

Cafazzo writes that a member of Associated Student Body team said, “We thought and prayed about what we wanted to do.”

She continues, “Being teens, their thoughts naturally turned to social networking. That’s when Operation Bless Allenmykael was born on Facebook. Students started spreading the word through the school’s Facebook page that they were raising money for their classmate. At school, kids from elementary to high school age (Cascade Christian also includes a junior high and three elementary schools) dug into their pockets and piggy banks for spare change. One woman brought a check for $2,000 to the school office.

“Within a few weeks, the students had raised more than $13,000 in cash and gift cards. Someone also donated a motorized wheelchair for Allenmykael to use. Students are also hoping to be able to help in the future with a new van to replace the family’s sputtering 21-year-old vehicle.
‘I felt so blessed to be able to bless them and be part of something so big that God was doing,’ said Carder.”

Allenmykael was released from the hospital in time to spend Christmas home and with his family. Cafazzo quotes Cascade ASB President Stephen Mahnken: “A lot of people might think that we made their Christmas. But they really made ours.”

Allenmykael hopes for a career in medicine, and sets his sights on the prestigious Johns Hopkins University. If he succeeds, that would truly be the Christmas gift that keeps on giving.

Read more: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2010/12/24/1477254/students-rally-for-one-of-their.html

Great Book I Just Read
The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
I admit it’s hardly Christmas fare, but this is a classic I have always wanted to read. And it was worth the wait. It's the first book I have read on my new Kindle, and it was free!

This is a gripping and exciting story about the attempted overthrow of earth by Martians, written by the master of science fiction, in 1898. Given that it was written over 100 years ago, it’s astounding how Wells acutely and instinctively hones in on what happens when there is anarchy: What happens when a country, the most powerful on earth, is invaded? Who are the survivors? How would people behave? Wells’ story is broad: he delves into the science of microorganisms, astounding as even the germ theory had only just in the past 20 years been accepted, but even in 1889 Halsted, a leading US physician, didn’t believe they traveled by air! For Wells to apply that to a tale about invading Martians is sheer brilliance. It was also the industrial age and so machinery figures prominently, as the Martians clank their way through the countryside, destroying everything with their “Heat-Ray.” He explores Darwinian theory: why do the Martians have huge heads, no intestines or internal digestive organs, and why are their machines tripods that slither? He provides sound and fascinating explanations, while at the same time creating a page-turner story that will be hard to put down. He describes the breakdown of society at the hands of monsters who seek to exterminate a race, and this was before the World Wars. Wells was a genius, and a prophet. Read this before seeing either of the movies, both of which were good for different reasons. Four stars.

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