Fire Fight Australia: A “Live Aid-Style” Concert Benefiting Brushfire Disaster Relief

In 1985, the music world offered their talents for the Live Aid super-concert charity to support South African famine relief. The rock band, Queen, was one of the highlights from the Live Aid performances and conversely, the event was a highlight of their stardom.

  Sources claim the Land Down Under has experienced the worst brushfire season on record. Originating in the southeast region of New South Wales back in November 2019, the fires have swept across all six Australian states. Roughly 25.5 million acres have been destroyed, devastating over two-thousand homes and an estimation of one billion animals. To give some perspective, that amount of acreage is comparable to the size of South Korea! The eastern Australian states of Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria account for eighty-four percent of the devastation. Due to the smoke, the capitol city of Sydney (on the Australian east coast of the New South Wales state) recorded the worst pollution it’s ever seen on January 1st, with an air quality index twenty-three times higher than what is considered hazardous. This so much and so problematic that the smoke crept into birthing rooms, stopped MRI machines from working, and triggered respiratory distress in an elderly woman, leading to her death. The pollutant air quality has even affected New Zeland, which is over 1,200 off Australia’s east coast. Their skies, clouds, and glaciers have been uncharacteristically discolored. The smoke haze has even canceled tour operations. With Australia in the midst of summertime and the normal peak of their fire season around late January or early February, their disasters could only continue and worsen.

Over thirty-five years after Live Aid, the music world does it again with Fire Fight Australia, a charity concert for Australia’s brushfire relief efforts taking place Sunday, February 16th. In fact, its even been touted as a “Live Aid-style concert”! And again, Queen (+ Adam Lambert) will take the stage at ANZ Stadium for the event, which comes the day after a show on their Rhapsody Tour. They will be joined by Alice Cooper, Olivia Newton-John, k.d. lang, and many other worldwide and local music icons, some of which have yet to be announced. All proceeds will benefit Australia’s rural and regional fire services, the RSPCA Bushfire appeal, the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery and other organizations.

Concert tickets went on sale January 13th and have unfortunately sold out as of this writing. The Australian-based vendor Ticketek is the only authorized dealer, meaning that tickets purchased from anywhere else are not guaranteed to be valid and offer access to be event. As of the end of January, broadcasts of the event have been announced through Australia’s Channel Seven, Foxtel, and the 7Plus streaming service.

Fire Fight Australia concert promo; image courtesy of Google

Live Aid was an ambitious endeavor for its time, lasting around sixteen hours between two major venues set between majorly different time zones –three venues and zones if you count Oz for Africa held in Australia the day before for that matter. Satellite broadcasting was still fairly new in 1985. Nonetheless around sixty music acts reached over a billion viewers in 110 countries and raised one hundred and fifty million pounds. Thirty-five years later, an international broadcast or live stream of some kind should be no problem. Around twenty-one acts and counting are already confirmed on the Fire Fight Australia bill, and ultimately we have the power of the internet which stars everywhere have used to react or respond to the crisis, sharing heartbreak or urging support on social media. One most significant posts was from Airbourne, an Australian rock band, who tweeted:

“Rockers worldwide – if you haven’t heard yet, Australia is literally burning – the smoke can be seen from space and has even turned the white snow caps over in New Zealand black.

“Too many Aussies have lost their loved ones – they’ve lost homes and livelihoods, and over half a billion animals have met their fate in these devastating fires. 

“Firefighters – a lot of whom are volunteers – and all emergency personnel, including the large number of vets, are going way beyond the call to duty and we thank them with all of our hearts. Australia can’t survive without their staunch, courageous and never-say-die commitment to stopping these fires.

“Any help from you will be greatly appreciated and will go a long way – even just one pound, one euro, one dollar or one peso can help. Every little bit helps rockers – Australia is burning.”

Others have harnessed star power, influence, and/or their own wealth, like Sir Elton John at a recent concert drew attention to the bushfire devastation and pledged one-million dollars for relief efforts. Metallica donated $750,000 and Pink has pledged $50,000. New Jersey deathcore band, Fit for an Autopsy, and Blink-182 have geared merchandise sales towards fundraising. As news of the brushfire disasters have gone global in the last month or so, the calls to action and responses alone, ahead of the concert event itself at that, are what really have been “Live Aid-style”.  

What can you do? Below are links to a few organizations taking donations or to merchandise sales supporting relief efforts or to other information about the disasters or charity efforts. This list just came together from this article’s source material and a little additional research and is by no means comprehensive, but ideally its a starting point for someone interested in lending a hand or knowing more.

https://firefightaustralia.com/#donate -Donates to the Australian Red Cross

https://firefightaustralia.com/product/tshirt/– Purchase an official Fire Fight concert t-shirt; proceeds supporting key organizations providing vital rescue, relief and recovery and rehabilitation

https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/volunteer/support-your-local-brigade – Donates to the New South Whales rural fire service

https://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/about/supporting-cfa#donate-cash – Donates to Country Fire Authority; based in the state of Victoria

https://cfsfoundation.org.au/donate – Donates to Country Fire Service Foundation; supports volunteer firefighters

https://www.wires.org.au/donate/emergency-fund – Donates to WIRES Wildlife Rescue

https://blink-182-uk.myshopify.com/collections/australia-bushfire-appeal – Purchase a Blink-182 brushfire appeal shirt; supports the Australia Zoo (note: shipping is international, but the price is in British pounds)

https://www.facebook.com/pg/FitForAnAutopsyOfficial/shop/?ref=page_internal – Purchase a select Fit for an Autopsy shirt in their Australian wildfire benefit sale; supports World Wildlife Fund Australia

Sound Relief Australia– If you want to try another opportunity for an Australian charity concert, Sound Relief Australia has been a regular event since 2009. Details are still in the works, but said to take place in late February or early March

#australianbushfiredisaster #australiaburning – use these hashtags (or closely related ones) on Twitter or Instagram to share your support or find the most current media on the incident

 

The Power of Confession

Last night, I had a heart-to-heart conversation with God and it’s been a long time since I’ve fully confessed ALL of my sins and transgressions before Him. You may be wondering what lead me to be so vulnerable in confessing. Prior to prayer, I was watching a sermon by Pastor Mark Ashton of Christ Community Church. It seemed a little strange to watch because I was just reviewing and going over my notes from Pastor John Weasel’s message at my local church. The Holy Spirit doesn’t make mistakes and will use whatever device and tool He can to minister to you.

I was laying in bed listening to Pastor Ashton’s message on the power of confession and how confessing meant agreeing with God. I thought to myself, “am I fully in agreement with God in every area of my life?” I wasn’t and I started confessing so many things to God; my fears, disappointments, hurts, and lack of intimacy with Him. The inner me was really my enemy and once and for all, I was ready to lay everything out in the open before God. I began telling Him about my inadequacies of being a man of God and temptations to lust. I even talked to God about my anger issues and being afraid to open up to the believers within the body of Christ.

Here’s what last night taught me… God understands and He wants to hear everything that is troubling you in your mind. More importantly, He wants to speak to you about those things and show you a way of escape. God desires freedom, peace, and a bright future for all of His children. Fear, shame, guilt, and a misunderstanding of your purpose on Earth was never and will be in God’s will or plan for your life. After confessing everything to God on my personal altar in bed, I felt whole and so clean inside. I hadn’t felt this way in so long. It was easy to pray and worship again. It was easy to write and blog again. It was easy to spread the love of Jesus again.

How did I get to this place last night? Why did it take me so long to open my mouth and verbally confess everything to God? All I can tell you is I had to reach a breaking point where inside of my soul I really had enough. Scriptures I had forgotten years ago were brought back to me and the desire to study and really understand their meanings rekindled in me. It goes beyond a feeling to a desire and longing to do right and be clean before God. I would be lying if I told you it was an easy process confessing everything, even in private, before the Lord. I can tell you it was the best decision I had ever made.

God is an all-knowing God. He’s omniscient and it’s one thing to know God knows your sins versus verbally confessing them. John 5:6-8 talks about a crippled man who attempted to go into the pool of Bethesda each year, but someone always came in front of him. This went on for 38 years. Yes, 38 years! Jesus comes across this man and asks him the question, “do you want to be made well?” Already seeing his condition and the bystanders dismissing him, it seemed odd for Jesus to ask him this question. So, why ask?
The only way for us to be well, just like this man, is we have to acknowledge we are in need of Him and allow Jesus to come in and lead us towards our healing. Today, arise, take up your bed, and walk in the freedom and healing God has for you! Confess any shortcoming or besetting sin you may have to your Heavenly Father. 1 John 1:9 encourages and proclaims that He is faithful is just enough to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. There’s power in full confession to God, the body of believers, and others!

Honey, Natural Allergy Relief

Oh, spring! How beautiful the blossoms that bloom in the warm sunshine are! How sweet is the smell of fresh green grass! Of course, with those most welcome sights comes a terrible price to pay! Every allergy sufferer knows what I’m talking about: pollen. Pollen is the unseen terror that causes most of us to stumble with itchy watery eyes to the nearest corner store and buy an ungodly amount of antihistamine so that we can hopefully get through our day without sneezing, coughing, and staring bleary-eyed into the distance.

Most of us who try to dodge taking medication as often as we can seek out natural remedies. Allergy sufferers are no different, but one of the natural remedies is so much sweeter: locally made honey. Honey made from local bees contains pollen from local bees contain pollen from trees and flowers nearby. If a person ingests a teaspoon of honey every morning, it is believed that they will become less sensitive to the pollen in the air. Overtime, they will be bothered little to none by the seasonal changes. It is in no way meant to replace allergy shots or prescribed medication. Always consult a physician before making any changes with those, but it is certainly a sweet and tasty alternative for those of us who run for the hills every spring, trying to escape the sneezy season.

Benefits of Adult Coloring Books

One of my all-time favorite memories as a child was getting a new box of crayons. Everything about it was wonderful: the vivid colors, the new smell, the way they felt on the coloring sheets. Now that I am an adult, I find that not much has changed. I love to sit and color. It takes me back to my carefree days, and I find that I’m not alone in this unorthodox method of de-stressing.

For many years, therapists have recognized art as a way to relieve patient’s emotional and physical distress. Oftentimes, life can be overwhelming and words can fail us when we try to convey our turbulent or strong emotions. Coloring can provide an outlet for all of these things we cannot seem to express, be they joyful or of sorrow.

In another study, adult coloring books have been observed to have a very similar effect to meditation. Once involved in completing their picture, the person coloring can block out internal and external negativity and focus on the moment, on the movement of pencil or crayon on paper. People diagnosed with anxiety and/or ADHD had been observed in multiple studies as being less fidgety, calmer, and much more able to pay attention to the task at hand.

While obviously not a cure-all for any condition, this bit of nostalgia can be used as a balm to the adult mind plagued with adult problems.

Is Your Dorm Room Haunted?

It might sound ridiculous to some to suggest that a dorm room can be haunted, but to others it makes perfect sense. If you think about it, more has happened in a single dorm room than happens in most apartments or houses. There are too many reports of hauntings in dorm rooms to ignore.

There are some things to consider before you decide if your dormitory is haunted or not. To start with, ask yourself these simple questions.

  • Is your dorm building new or has it been around for a while?
  • Is your campus historical or newer?
  • Is the location of your campus near or located on any historical sites?
  • Has any major event happened near or at the location of your dorm?

Let’s dissect each of those questions and why they are vital in determining if your dorm room is truly haunted or if it’s just old plumbing that is causing all of the noises you hear. If your dorm building is older then there is more of a chance for something to have happened where you are staying. Many believe that ghosts or spirits are commonly found in locations where something major has happened before. It might not seem like a life changing event to you, but if something happened in the past that an apparition considers vital then it is possible you may have a lingering guest.

If your campus is historical then there is also more of a chance that some major event has happened on campus. It makes sense that if your campus is haunted then the ghosts won’t just stay in one place. If you are experiencing a haunting on campus then it is likely that others are too.

If your campus is located near any historical sites that might have not so pleasant pasts then it is also likely that some bad energy has ended up on your campus. Lastly, if a major event happened near your dorm that could cause a haunting then you are much more likely to be experiencing a haunting.

If you or anyone else on campus has experienced the following, then it is likely you have a real haunting.

  • Hearing strange noises at odd times.
  • Hearing someone saying your name or speaking, even though nobody else is around.
  • Doors shutting, windows slamming shut, things falling over, even though nobody is around to have done it.
  • Floating objects.
  • Shadows or movement that is unordinary.
  • Strange reflections in mirrors.
  • Sudden change in temperature.
  • Unusual fog or glowing orbs in photos.
  • Flickering lights.
  • Abrupt loud noises that don’t seem to have an immediate source.

Reports of hauntings in dorm rooms or on campuses are common, so don’t feel alone when looking into this. Sometimes the strange things that happen can be explained away with simple logic, but in many cases there are no logical explanations other than to admit that an actual haunting might be occurring. This article is not to give advice on what to do if you have a haunting because every situation is different and might require different action, but rather this is to help you decide if you have an actual haunting or perhaps just live in an old building where old wiring can explain your sightings.

Please take time to let us know your haunted dorm room story in the comments section.

A Breath of Fresh Air

A Breath of Fresh AirThe air we breathe is arguably the most overlooked necessity in our daily lives. We don’t even think about it until it becomes polluted in some way. To battle that, we spend tons of money on spray products that clutter cabinets and not much else. To clean our air inside, we need to take a look outside.

Plants absorb some of the negative particles in the air along with the carbon dioxide they need. The carbon dioxide is converted to oxygen and released while the negative particles are broken down. The most natural and decorative way to clean the air inside our homes would be to bring that same cycle indoors.

Now, a houseplant can seem like a no-go if a person has allergies, pets, or even a dreaded “black thumb”. Never fear! While all of those things are certainly reasons for concern, there are plenty of common household plants that cost very little and can be adjusted to fit your household. A perfect example of one such plant would the aloe plant. With the added benefit of being able to soothe slight burns and skin irritations, aloe plants are very good at cleaning the air and are very hard to kill. They dont require much maintenance and are not known to be toxic to pets.

With a little online research and a quick trip to the local supermarket, you can fill that empty spot on the end table, save money money on product, and purify the air you breathe.

Nosey Neti

Nosey Neti Tis the season for sinus pressure, disgusting drainage, coughing, sneezing, and nights full of tossing and turning. Dry irritated sinus membranes and germs of all sorts floating about make it very difficult to keep a clear nostril. Once those pathways are clogged, it becomes a battle to clear them. For the most part, we take sinus medication and hope it works within a reasonable amount of time. We try to ignore the sife effects as best we can. The Neti pot offers an alternative.

Shaped to resemble a small one cup teapot made of either ceramic or glass, the Neti pot makes good use of nasal irrigation. Filled with saline, it is poured in one nostril with the head tilted forward. Saline should wash through the clogged cavities, breaking up the mucuous and flushing it out the opposite nostril. While a bit messy, it does provide instant relief.

While easy to use and with no foggy headed drowsiness to accompany it, it is very very important to clean and dry the Neti pot after each use and not to fill it with anything other than the saline solution when using it. All in all, a very natural and simple way to get through the cold and flu season.