Off-beat perceptions and life tips of the world and all its players.
Keep it clean, keep it honest and as a great friend told me, keep swimming!
Posting articles here is my hobby. No advertisements on this page, although linked pages may have some. No copyright infringement intended.
Here’s a way to start your New Year with a full heart! We’ve collected our favorite stories from 2015 to remind you how good humanity can be – 9 acts of kindness from adults, and 9 from kids and teens. Which good deeds are your favorite?
This past year saw giant leaps in how we cure cancer, with breakthroughs in treating Alzheimers and preventing Ebola. These technological developments – both big and small – promise better lives in the years to come.
Here are ten of the most positive health and science breakthroughs of 2015.
If teens already have a hard time with positive body image and self-esteem, imagine how they feel going through the drudgery of chemotherapy or a long hospital stay, possibly losing their hair or a limb, and always giving up their individual freedom. Hospitals have many volunteers and programs to amuse little children, but when it comes to teens, there is little to take their mind off the misery.
That’s when “Design My Room” makes them feel like a firework.
Working with 36 hospitals across the United States, the nonprofit redecorates sterile patient rooms to look “more like home” for teens whose spirits could use a lift.
“Everything’s bigger in Texas,” the old saying goes, and Texans are demonstrating their hearts are bigger than any storm.
Since December 26 when the Dallas area was hit by tornadoes — some with winds as strong as 200 miles per hour — so many volunteers have come to the rescue that recovery teams have sometimes turned them away because of an over-abundance of help.
Cities have started asking people to sign-up before arriving at disaster sites to better manage the volunteers. The city of Garland has set up a website specifically for people who want to help. In Rowlett, citizens have set up an unofficial Facebook page to let community members know what and where contributions are needed.
“This is an amazing community,” Rowlett resident Brandi Hurst told Good News Network. “Many restaurants and grocery stores have been giving away food to those affected, complete strangers have opened their homes and have been searching for missing pets— such an outpouring of love!”
“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.”
That first step to change is always the hardest. We struggle with letting go of old habits and embracing new ones. We fear taking a risk. Intellectually, we can find a thousand reasons not to try. As we close out 2015 and begin a brand new year, let’s make a solid commitment that for every resolution on our list, we will make the decision to “try!”
"For thousands of years, humans have marked the beginning of a new year with sacred festivals. January is named after the Roman god Janus, whose two faces looked to both the past and the future. As you consider the many days ahead in 2016, take some time to reflect on the past as well. Try these tips if you're searching for ways to make this year's New Year's celebration more meaningful."
“Go after your dream no matter how unattainable others think it is.”
Naysayers…they’re everywhere! If I think back on how many times people told me I couldn’t do something, which to me was merely a challenge, my life would be completely different. If you have a dream, a desire, a mission, follow your heart! Taking that leap of faith off the cliff will either teach you to fly or teach you to swim!
Nelson Mandela's remarkable spirit and life story are celebrated the world over. Author Karen MacGregor takes a deeper look into how Mandela used his time on earth as a lifelong learning experience. From formal higher education, to tribal and political education, and then of course, to prison education, the breadth and depth of Mandela's learning is truly remarkable.
A busboy’s honesty has led to an avalanche of “tips” from people rewarding the 50-year-old man for his good deed.
As soon as Johnny “Thumper” Duckworth found an envelope full of $100 bills on the floor of the diner where he worked, he gave it to his boss and got right back to work.
His boss, Randy Emmons (pictured, right), knew $3,000 was a huge amount of money for Duckworth, who has no car or home and whose wages are garnished to pay medical bills. He rides his bike through cold and snow to get to work on time.
It turns out the lost money belonged to one of his regular customers at Randy’s Southside Diner in Grand Junction, Colorado, who immediately rewarded Duckworth with $300 for returning the Christmas shopping cash.
A bachelor’s over-the-top Christmas display attracted thousands of spectators — and even a wife.
Chad Koosman didn’t have much time for dating around the holidays. He was busy running 50 miles of wire and cord to power the 450,000 lights in his annual display.
But, like shepherds are attracted to a bright star in the Christmas story, his future wife, Angie, was drawn to see the fantastic display — and she saw quite a catch in the Minnesota bachelor, especially his charitable, giving nature.
Chad has been raising money for a Christian charity every year since he was in eighth grade. His light extravaganza has collected more than $400,000 in donations for the charity in eight years.
The new owner of a vacant house asked a homeless squatter on the property to leave, but then returned to offer the polite young man a job — and a room in the house.
James Eppler had been homeless since he was 16 and recently found shelter on the old house’s porch. When Chris Crever bought the property in Portland, Oregon, he confronted Eppler and told him he had to move on.
Eppler thanked Crever, which startled the new property owner into seeing him differently. The homeless man was grateful that Crever had been polite in telling him to leave, which made him feel like a human being.
The respectful exchange shifted everything.
The new owner offered Eppler a job helping to repair the house and told him he could live in one of its rooms temporarily. The homeless man suddenly had a place to sleep and to shower.
After the French Interior Minister called for strengthening security during Christmas worship services, a group of 12 Muslim men stood outside the entrance to one church in Pas-de-Calais to offer protection from any possible terrorist attacks.
The symbolic show of unity during midnight mass was organized by Hashim El Jazaoui of the Union of Muslim Citizens in the northern French area of Lens, reports Belgium’s RTL.
“We want to say that we are all together. We are brothers. We are in the same boat. If the boat sinks, we all sink. If mentally ill people want to kill us, they will have to kill us all together,” El Jazaoui reportedly said in a statement.
The warm gesture was received with gratitude by the clergy and the 200 Christians who attended Thursday’s service and offered words of peace to the Muslims.
The homeless people of London weren’t expecting gifts on Christmas, and they definitely were not expecting them from a Muslim Santa Claus.
Nubaid Haroon decided to send out a compassionate reminder of his religion’s core tenant this holiday season by wrapping up presents he bought with his own money and delivering them to homeless people on the streets.
His goal was to challenge stereotypes about Muslims – and spread a little Christmas cheer at the same time.
“I think that a lot of people think because Muslims don’t celebrate Christmas that we don’t accept it when people celebrate Christmas,” wrote Haroon in an email to TakePart. “But in reality my family give chocolates and food to neighbors/friends regardless of their race/religion. It’s just about being one with the community.”
8-month-old Jett has been fighting a rare form of leukemia at the Children’s Hospital in Louisiana with few positive results since he was born.
His parents, Brittany and Tylan Self, having tried everything to aid their baby boy, heard that there was an experimental treatment available at John’s Hopkins hospital – 1,100 miles away in Baltimore. Due to Jett’s weakened immune system, commercial flying could be fatal, and the 16-hour drive would be too long.
After searching high and low for a solution, James Davison, the owner of Davison Trucking, suddenly swooped in to save the day – literally.
James heard about Jett’s dilemma from Congressman Dr. Ralph Abraham, who served with him in the National Guard. Though he didn’t know the struggling family personally, he said he is happy to fly them to Baltimore in his private jet—especially when he heard the boy’s father serves in the Guard also.
They were his neighbors but so much more. Now he has honored their memory by buying their family home and donating it to Habitat for Humanity.
Bill and Janice Henning were like second parents to Lenny Bazemore, who grew up in the working class row houses in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Their son Curt was Lenny’s first childhood friend.
“I had a beautiful childhood—filled with family, friends and neighbors like the Hennings—and though we didn’t have much, we didn’t need much because we had each other,” Bazemore wrote to Good News Network. “I remember there were times when there wasn’t enough food, I remember poverty, but most of all, I remember love, good friends and a safe neighborhood.”
So when Curt, who had fallen on hard times, asked his old friend to buy the house where he grew up, the home across the street from where Lenny’s Mother still lives, it was nearly impossible to say no.
52 West Basin Street, just outside of Philadelphia, was where Janice and Bill taught the neighborhood boys …
A woman who escaped a wildfire with her life was devastated to lose her most prized possessions in the flight but has a reason to be grateful this holiday, thanks to a local youth.
Deb was fleeing in her four-door sedan from the Pinery bushfire in South Australia in late November. She was carrying everything of value—baby pictures, photo albums, and laptop— when the air became so filled with dust and smoke that she became disoriented and bumped into another car.
After that, her vehicle stalled and wouldn’t start again. Deb had to abandon the car, and it was destroyed by the fire, along with all her prized possessions inside.
An apprentice training to be an auto mechanic, Fraser Hocking, decided to donate his old Pajero SUV to the couple after seeing an appeal on Facebook from community advocate, Mark Aldridge.
The 4-wheel-drive Pajero belonged to his mother who passed away last year, so Fraser figured it would be a “good legacy” to give it to someone who needs it.
California Governor Jerry Brown granted Robert Downey Jr. clemency Thursday for 1990s drug and other offenses. The Christmas Eve pardons are an annual tradition, and this year the actor received one of 91 granted by the governor, issued primarily for nonviolent crimes and minor drug offenses.
Contemporary audiences know him as Tony Stark in Iron Man and The Avengers. In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Robert Downey Jr. had already shared the screen with Molly Ringwald, Sally Field, Whoopi Goldberg, Meg Ryan, Ian McKellan and Annette Bening, and earned an Academy Award nomination for the leading role in Chaplin. But that decade also saw trouble with drugs and multiple run-ins with the law. In 1996 he was arrested three times in one month.
He was sentenced in November 1996 for possession of a controlled substance, carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle with a prior conviction, driving under the influence with priors, and use or under the influence of a controlled substance, according to t…
“By being yourself you put something wonderful in the world that wasn’t there before.”
How much time to we spend comparing ourselves to others? I wish I had her hair, his money, their house… When we do this, our serenity and inner peace go right out the window! Instead of lamenting what you don’t have, turn your perspective around by acknowledging the unique and wonderful presence you bring to the world. Whatever we focus on grows stronger, so make it a point today to celebrate the real you!
In the quiet of the Copenhagen Metro, the clear, sweet notes of a flute panned across the train. As commuters looked on with smiles, the members of the Copenhagen Phil joined into a rendition of Morning Mood from Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt, Op. 23. As listeners drank in the beauty of the melody, perhaps they were aware that at least for this particular commute, they were bonded with the strangers on the train in their appreciation and joy. They boarded the train as many, but departed in unity as one.
(Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal.)
The New Year, and its promise of starting over, dangles the carrot of a clean slate in front of us. We want to lose weight, finally start meditating, drink less, make more time for friendships and family… the list is as universal as it is personal. It’s so important to take our desire to be happier seriously, yet sadly far too many resolutions don’t pan out. As sure as the winter snow will melt with the weather, so too, does our resolve. We often blame ourselves: our lack of willpower, consistency, and steadfastness. In reality we just may be failing to think with our Venus.
We don’t normally connect Venus with will, resolve, and discipline. Venus, being the lush of the Zodiac, is inclined toward pleasure, beauty, and enjoying the good life. Saturn is the harsh taskmaster, and with the Sun in Capricorn and Aquarius, Saturn’s signs, for January and most of February, an attitude of “out with the old, in with the n…
(Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal.)
Increasingly, as we become more attuned to holistic approaches and the intersection of body-mind-spirit, we are expanding our awareness of the diverse influences upon physical, emotional, and energetic well-being. We pay attention to home, leisure, and work environments. We read labels to determine the integrity of ingredients that we put into our bodies. We shift to natural cleaning solutions to eliminate chemicals from our quest for cleanliness. We bring peace into our bodies with meditation and yoga. But, though we can feel great love and affinity with Nature, we don’t always necessarily extend our awareness of the impact of the environment upon our overall health to that of Nature around us, particularly as it relates to the annual dance through the cycle of the seasons. There is much informal evidence to support the concept that, consciously or not, we innately understand this impact. Many of us feel the urge…
“It’s not forgetting that heals, it’s remembering.”
Sometimes our emotions become so overwhelming that we try to push them down, ignoring them in the hopes they will go away. And yet, any sadness or upset that we repress always finds a way to come back up. Allowing the feelings to move through us, remembering the positive aspects and gifts that are borne out of any loss or disappointment, gives all our life experience value. Acknowledging the past allows us to move beyond the pain so the healing process can begin.
"As we muddle through our days, the quest for happiness looms large. In the U.S., citizens are granted three inalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In the kingdom of Bhutan, there's a national index to measure happiness. But what if searching for happiness actually prevents us from finding it?" Read on to learn more from Adam Grant about why we might need to change our focus in order to find happiness.
“In life, surround yourself with those who light your path.”
This is the opposite of “misery loves company”. And it is so true that the nature of the people we surround ourselves with dictates our own nature and attitudes. In this holiday season, if we can’t be around people who light our path, let’s BE those people with the lanterns and remind all who cross our path of the joy and light that we all have access to.
Teachers often present subjects to children as settled and complete, as if no further questioning is needed because all the answers have been found. Students may think they've learned all the facts and lose their sense of curiosity. In "Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing," Jamie Holmes invites them to spark their curiosity to better prepare them for the "real world," where answers are seldom clear-cut or permanent.
“Life isn’t about the destination, but the journey that gets us there.”
As another year comes to a close, this is a wonderful time to reflect on the journey of the last 12 months – the highs and lows, joys and challenges, accomplishments and disappointments that have woven a rich tapestry of experience into our lives. Looking at the overall picture allows us to see the gifts of our journey, no matter where it has led us. Being faithful to our destiny always lands us in the right place!
We will all feel pain in one form or another many times throughout our lifetimes, whether it be the heartbreak of lost love, or perhaps some sort of perceived humiliation at the workplace. And while the pain may be real and lasting, there are fundamental actions we can each take to help bring about healing. The following article offers three crucial steps that can help facilitate someone to "move beyond pain.
When burglars made off with money that a woman had been saving to take her kids to Disneyland, a pair of police officers made sure the family would be able to still go on their trip.
The woman, identified only as Amanda, had been saving all year to take her kids on the trip during Christmas break.
The two officers from the Antioch, California Police Department who investigated the break-in figured the chances of finding and returning the money before Christmas were pretty slim, so they took the problem back to headquarters and put on their Santa hats.
They told the story to the rest of the squad and took up a collection. Then Saturday, they asked Amanda to come to the police station saying they wanted her to look at a line-up of suspects.
A billion dollar desalination plant is turning salt water into drinking water for drought-plagued Southern California.
The Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant named for the former mayor of Carlsbad, is producing 50 million gallons of fresh water every day south of Los Angeles— enough for 400,000 people. That’s about 10% of the region’s water supply.
Fifteen more plants are under consideration along the California coast.
Water from the Pacific Ocean is pumped through long, cylindrical filters which remove salt, then on to a water treatment plant miles away where it’s added to the rest of the region’s water supply before being piped to customers.
When a politician’s remarks made an eight-year-old girl cry, American service members let her know they have her back.
Melissa Chance Yassini came home from work earlier this month to find her daughter, Sofia crying. The little girl had heard that a presidential candidate wanted to ban Muslims like her family from entering the U.S.
She was so afraid her family would be deported, she had packed a bag.
Melissa spent a long night comforting her daughter and voiced her frustrations in a Facebook post. The whole ordeal was enough to break a mother’s heart. Turns out, it was enough to break a few veterans’ hearts, too.
When Army vet Kerri Peek first read about it, she said the story “stuck in my craw.”
A bill to clean up the environment and keep toxins out of the food chain has sailed through the U.S. Congress with virtually no debate.
The Microbead-Free Waters Act requires health and beauty companies to stop using the tiny, plastic abrasives in products by 2017.
Microbeads, made from ground plastic pellets like those above, are used in products ranging from facial scrubs to toothpaste. They don’t break down in water treatment plants and about 11 billion of them end up in American waterways every day.
They’re not toxic, but toxic chemicals sticking to the microbeads are eaten by marine life. The contamination is then passed up the food chain — even to humans who eat seafood.
“I will honor the Spirit of Christmas in my heart and try to keep it there all year.”
The true spirit of Christmas is expectant, joyful, open and loving. If we can pay close attention to the anticipation and awe of the season and carry it with us all year, what a wonderful gift we will be giving to ourselves and others. Truly, a gift greater and longer lasting than the ones wrapped up in ribbons under the tree.
Some people make giving look effortless. They're the kind of people who bring donuts on Friday mornings and don't think twice before helping overwhelmed colleagues. Others face more of a struggle when it comes to putting the group first. So how do the givers do it? New research from the emerging field of neuroeconomics suggests that being generous is not as tough as some people think.
It’s so easy for us to talk ourselves out of things, isn’t it? We can come up with a great idea or dream, and then almost immediately start to list all the reasons NOT to pursue it. Having faith in ourselves seems to be a real challenge these days, and I think most great ideas are waylaid when we say “What if it doesn’t work?” That seems to bring things to a standstill, when in truth, it’s not about if it works or not. No, it’s about taking a leap of faith and enjoying the journey it takes us on. Even if the end isn’t what we envisioned, we’ll have some amazing experiences and learn wonderful things along the way.
"With the holiday season upon us, it's easy to feel pressure that you aren't spending enough, doing enough or otherwise keeping up with everyone else around you. If that's the case, log out of Pinterest, take some deep breaths and remind yourself that true holiday spirit can't be bought -- no matter how good the bargains get." This lovely piece offers up 5 immediate ways to be kind in this season of giving.
A new office machine eliminates multiple middle-men and lets businesses recycle paper right in their own building.
The Epson combination paper shredder and paper-making machine saves on the cost of hauling paper to a recycling center and buying new paper, and helps the environment by cutting down on the energy and massive amounts of water involved in large scale paper recycling.
The nine-foot by four-foot PaperLab can crank out 14 sheets of brand-new, crisp paper every minute — that’s 6,720 sheets in the course of an eight-hour business day.
A business simply dumps its waste paper into the machine which shreds the sheets and uses a jet of air to “de-ink” the used paper bits. Liquid binders are added to reassemble the shredded fibers into fresh sheets and allow the machine to crank out different colors or styles of paper. Then it uses a pressure process to form individual sheets of paper to custom size and thickness.
The PaperLab goes on sale in Japan next year with sales for other countri…