Showing posts from October 18, 2015

New York City Plants One Million Trees, Reaches Goal 2 Years Early

In 2007, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched an initiative to plant a million trees in 10 years. This week, officials reached their goal — two years ahead of schedule.

The one-millionth tree, an eight-year-old, 25-foot-tall lacebark elm, was planted Tuesday in the Bronx. Leaders behind the greening effort say they finished ahead of schedule because so many people were willing to volunteer.

A half-dozen poor neighborhoods, which were devoid of trees and reporting high rates of asthma, were singled out for mass plantings as a part of a city-wide environmental plan focused on creating new parkland and battling climate change. The trees would filter urban air pollutants and provide shade that keeps concrete and asphalt streets from heating up.

‘Green’ Stove Dedicated to my Grandma Will Feed 1000s in Haiti

When InStove first started out, their “green” stoves were written off as “patio furniture.”

Years later, these multi-purpose, biomass cook stoves are feeding thousands of children across Haiti while ensuring the safety of the cooks who prepare the meals.

The latest stove to arrive in Haiti is dedicated in the memory of my grandmother, Lucy, who passed away in June.  She was a beautiful, warm-hearted woman who always made sure everyone was fed–and often took pans out of the oven with her bare hands (as we all gasped).

Accidental Discovery: Orange Peels Could Suck Mercury Out of Oceans

Scientists in Australia accidentally stumbled on a substance that can remove toxic mercury from the sea. It’s called limonene, and can be found in any orange peel.

Dr. Justin Chalker, a professor of Synthetic Chemistry at Flinders University, and his team, were working with sulfur and limonene to create a red, rubber-like polymer. When they began running tests to measure its potentially harmful impact on the environment, they discovered quite the opposite — the substance can suck mercury right out of water.

Daily Inspirational Quote – October 24, 2015

“Loving yourself isn’t vanity, it’s sanity.”

If you don’t love yourself then how can you expect anyone else to? If you want to feel loved, cherished and valued, then who better to do the job than the person who knows you best, i.e. you? That’s not vanity it’s common sense. If you love and value who you are as a person, people won’t see this as vanity, they’ll see you as someone who is at peace with who they are and comfortable and content in their own skin. How many people can say that? Make sure you take the necessary steps, if you haven’t already, to be one of them. Promise?


How Science Helps Us Find the Good

Since the beginning of time, the battle between good and evil has always been at the forefront of human existence. But only until recently has science started to help better understand the complexities of it all. And just as good and bad are linked, science also reveals how our inner world and the external one are tied together. The overall takeaway? If you want to find and foster the good in society, you need to start by searching for the goodness inside yourself.

Hi-Tech Mouthguard Flags Concussion to Protect Athlete’s Brain

A high-tech mouth guard promises to be a game changer for treating and preventing sports-related concussions.

FITGuard, a device that alerts coaches immediately if a player should get medical attention for a head injury, comes from the mind of a former college athlete who suffered his own brain injury while playing college rugby in 2011.

‘Teal’ Pumpkins Signal Special Treats For Allergic Kids on Halloween

This blue pumpkin isn’t a trick—it’s a green light for special treats.

One in thirteen children struggles with food allergies, which can turn trick-or-treating into an actual ‘Fright Night’.

This year, teal pumpkins are popping up in front of thousands of houses to signify their offering of allergy-free treats for kids on Halloween.

Surgeon Treats 100,000 Patients Unable to Pay for Health Care

When a doctor grew concerned with patients being put on waiting lists because they could not afford treatment, he started his own clinics — and treated 100,000 people, whether they could pay or not.

Dr. Daniel Ivankovich founded the nonprofit, OnePatient Global Health Initiative, in 2010, so he could provide health care regardless of insurance or people’s ability to pay.

Lonely Elderly Man Calls Radio Station, Host Does the Nicest Thing

A lonely, elderly gentleman’s phone call to a radio station turned him into a star, and put a youthful smile on his face.

Bill Palmer called into BBC Radio Solent in Southhampton, UK because he just wanted someone to talk to. The 95-year-old man’s wife had to go into a nursing home recently, and he had no one at home to keep him company.

Radio host Alex Dyke suggested they talk in person, and sent a taxi to Palmer’s house to pick him up and bring him to the studio.

Dolls Get Makeovers When Artists Turn Them Into Role Models

An online art movement is transforming fashion-obsessed dolls into confidence-boosting toys for young children everywhere.

Australian artist Sonja Singh kicked it off with her Tree Change Dolls.

Ever since she began rescuing Barbies, Disney princesses, and Bratz dolls from second-hand stores and repurposing them into make-up free “outdoorsy” characters, artists around the world have been following her lead.

Soldier Arrives Home Just Before His Sister Walks Down Aisle -Watch

We all love a good soldier homecoming video—this one is an instant classic.

Check out his sister’s reaction when he surprises her just in time for her wedding.

Daily Inspirational Quote – October 23, 2015

“Positive anything is better than negative nothing.”

Of course it is! In fact, being positive, is what gets most of us out of bed in the morning and keeps us motivated throughout our day. The trick is to hold onto it and keep holding on no matter what negativity we experience, either from people or situations. You have a choice. Determine to be positive in thought and action and therefore have peace of mind knowing you’ve done your best or, think negatively about who or what you’re experiencing and sink further into the pit of total negativity and helplessness? Surely, it serves us better to follow the former option? Onwards and upwards my friends! Who’s with me?


A Recipe for Change

Studies in neuroplasticity indicate how new impressions stimulate and even feed our neurons. It's time to celebrate the fact that what we think changes the physical structure of our brain. When we change our minds, we change our brain. This piece shares more.

NFL Star Helps 145th Single-Parent Family Buy Their Own Home

Warrick Dunn delivered 64 touchdowns in his National Football League days, but he’s made 145 single parent families the biggest winners of his career.

Dunn started Homes for the Holidays right after he signed his first pro contract in 1997, designed to help single parent families realize the dream of home ownership. Last month, Xeniya McBroom and her daughter became the 145th family to move into a home thanks to Dunn.

McBroom had to take a financial management course to qualify for Dunn’s help and, although it isn’t free, she’s buying the house from Habitat for Humanity with a zero percent loan.

Mother Starts Campaign To Bring Baby Carriers To Refugee Moms

Only a mother would notice a need like this one and respond with such compassion.

As refugees from Syria continue to flow into Europe by the thousands, an American mom observed that luxuries like baby carriers and slings were scarce in scenes of fleeing families.
One crowdfunding campaign later, and 1400 baby carriers are being gifted to mothers seeking asylum in Greece.

Cristal Logothetis, a Californian who was once an undocumented immigrant in the U.S. herself, created the fundraising page to ask for used baby carriers or donations to buy more.

Quadriplegic Dad Dances First Time in 17 Yrs For Daughter’s Wedding

My dad was in a tragic car accident when I was 12 and has been paralyzed from his chest down without the use of his fingers ever since. Dancing was one of the first things on his mind after his injury – he loved it, but it was too painful to think of dancing in a wheelchair. Unfortunately for me, that meant dancing with my dad became nothing but a memory.

I always knew how painful it was for him to leave dancing behind, but when I got engaged almost 17 years later, I had one request: a father-daughter dance. It wasn’t an easy sell, but he eventually agreed, and we killed it on the dance floor!

Woman Offers Lifeline to 300 Single Mothers with Cancer

For nearly a decade, 300 single mothers fighting cancer have relied on one woman for help.
When her best friend began undergoing treatment for cancer, Jody Farley-Berens of Phoenix, Arizona stepped in to help the single mother of four in any way she could.

During the process, it occurred to her that other women were going through similar struggles and needed helpers, too. That’s why she founded Singleton Moms in 2006, a nonprofit that provides both emotional and financial support to single mothers with cancer, helping them pay bills and even sending crews to clean their houses.

Big Hearts in Aisle Five: Grocery Store Buys Special Cart for Special Toddler

Grocery shopping was a struggle for the mother of a little girl with cerebral palsy, until a grocery store manager rolled out a “princess wagon.”

That’s what Melody Leach calls the cart her local grocery store bought for daughter Beatrice. You can tell by the smile on her face, the little girl loves her new ride.

The two-year-old can’t sit in a regular shopping cart, so mom would have to shop while juggling a basket and a wheelchair down the aisles

Daily Inspirational Quote – October 22, 2015

“Don’t ruin a good day today, because of a bad day yesterday.”

Human nature though isn’t it? Allowing whatever made yesterday a bad day to cling to us like a big ball of Velcro and stay with us into today! Going over and over in our mind about whatever or whoever made our day hell, thinking the same thoughts, what if we’d done this, or what if we’d done that……….? Think about it sensibly for a moment okay? This makes the present day hell too, and the day after that, and the day……. So, we’re going to take a deep breath, mentally agree to whatever it is being left where it belongs, i.e. yesterday, and get on with the day we’re in. Bye bye Velcro!


Why These Kids Love School

Tucked away in a rural village about 40 minutes drive from the city center of Medan, Indonesia, is a small school bursting with love. Abdi Kasih, which means "dedication with love" was born out of one woman's transformation from pity to love for children with intellectual challenges. Watch as one of the volunteers describes the changes that she has experienced in her own approach to life after spending a year with the children of this school.

“Best Ever” Parliament of World’s Religions Finds Harmony in 50 Faiths

The best qualities of the world’s many religions were on display in Salt Lake City, Utah last week where the Parliament of the World’s Religions convened.

Roughly 10,000 people representing 50 faiths attended, taking part in discussions focused on ending violence, tackling climate change and addressing income inequality.

The gathering also featured its first Women’s Assembly addressing religion’s role in empowering women and its responsibility for dignity and human rights of women.

Leonardo DiCaprio Redefines Eco-Tourism With New Island Resort

In his latest project, the “Wolf of Wall Street” is focused on the manatees of Belize.
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio plans to turn a 104-acre private island in Belize into a game-changing new model for eco-tourism around the world.

When it opens in 2018, the resort and conservation areas on Blackadore Caye will host both tourists and scientists, while creating habitat for marine life, and restoring native species both on the island and in the water around it – including manatees.

Half-Price Hummus Brings Arabs and Jews Together Over Lunch

A restaurant is “giving chickpeas a chance” – to promote peace in Israel.

The Hummus Bar in Netanya is now offering half price hummus to every table shared by Jews and Arabs.

The restaurant posted the deal on Facebook October 18, and customers have been eating it up ever since.

Promise to Her Grandmother Brings Better Life to Native Americans

A little girl’s promise to her grandmother has meant nine million dollars in goods and services for Native Americans on a South Dakota reservation.

Today, a half-century later, Rochelle Ripley is keeping that promise, working alongside the Lakota tribe with volunteers to improve their health and education, and rebuild homes for the Lakota people.
Ripley’s grandmother was full-blooded Lakota and entertained her as a child with stories of life on the reservation.

“My grandmother was my world,” Ripley told CNN. “She asked me if I would go back home and help our people when I grew up.”

Every Week Boy Packs 100 Bags w/ Food and Hope for the Homeless

This nine-year-old boy is packing quite a punch against hunger while filling as many as 150 sack lunches for the homeless every week.

Dusty Liulay came up with “Dusty’s Sacks of Hope” after a soup kitchen told him he was too young to volunteer. He sat down at the kitchen table and starting packing the brown bag lunches.

Every Sunday, he and some volunteers deliver the lunches to Portland, Oregon’s homeless.

His cousin, Caelie Agosta, helps with the fundraising to pay for the Sacks of Hope. They have a GoFundMe page that’s raised more than $2,600 in about a month. The kids say $200 will provide food bags for 120 to 130 people.

Daily Inspirational Quote – October 21, 2015

“Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feelings and emotions.”

I guess we have all been guilty of this at some time or another, I know I have. Sometimes we are just too nice, too trusting, and too easily led. Over time, it may become a pattern and a way of life so that we just fall into going along with somebody else’s perception of how we should feel or react. Perhaps it’s time for a personal “wake up call” when we all take a moment to stop and think if this relates to someone in our lives? If so, time to take charge. Initially, It may not be easy to put this into practice but persevere, as once you’ve learned this lesson, you won’t need any revision in the future.


Anam Cara and the Essence of True Friendship

Nowhere do the beauty, mystery, and soul-sustenance of friendship come more vibrantly alive than in Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom by the late, great Irish poet and philosopher John O'Donohue. Anam Cara is Gaelic for "soul-friend". This piece shares more...

Strangers’ Kindness Flipped 20-yo Homeless Guy’s Life in 5 Days

In just five days, the kindness of strangers completely transformed a 20-year-old homeless man’s life — Shylow Murphy went from playing music for tips on a street corner to a full time job with a roof over his head.

Abbi Claxton couldn’t just walk by Murphy as she saw him busking on a street in Norwich, England, wearing a pair of tattered jogging pants. The web analyst, gave him a new pair, brought him some food, and started a conversation.

Hundreds of Jews and Arabs Rally Arm-in-Arm for Peace in Israel

Nearly 1000 Jewish and Arab residents joined seven mayors from different municipalities to form a human chain north of Israel, calling for coexistence and condemning violence.

They lined up along the road in the Wadi Ara region to call for calm, understanding, and cooperation in creating a shared society for all citizens.

“Arabs and Jews want to live in security,” organizers wrote on Facebook. “We know that only with a just solution to the conflict will we be able to stop the killing and the hatred, to build a different reality. A reality of security.”

Givat Haviva, a non-profit group founded in 1949 by the Kibbutz Federation, organized the Friday afternoon event, and afterward, hosted dialogue and sharing circles under a big tent.

Woman Helps Others Break Cycle of Prison She Endured (WATCH)

A woman who says she spent 12 years being “recycled” in and out of the prison system has turned it all around to help others in the same position.

Kim Carter spent years moving from prison to the streets and back again. She wanted something better, but faced an uphill challenge simply finding a place or home, where she could start over.

Eventually, Carter was able to find the services she needed while still in prison, but made up her mind to work toward preventing other women from having to go through what she did and helping them break the cycle of incarceration and homelessness.

UK Football Stars Buy Hotel, Invite Homeless to Stay For Winter

Typically, when homeless activists occupy a vacant building, someone calls the cops.
In this case, the building’s owners were Manchester United football stars Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, who welcomed them to stay.

The duo, who plan to turn the £1.5 million Stock Exchange building into a boutique hotel, have granted homeless advocacy group the Manchester Angels use of the building throughout the winter so that about 30 young men will be guaranteed shelter. The group also plans to bring in social services that can offer recovery programs and health care, and other necessities to those in need.

Wes Hall, one of the homeless activists, told Channel 4 News he burst into tears when he got the call from Neville, the Manchester United coach. “To us, this is a lifeline; this is saving lives throughout the winter period.”

Toxic Algae Could Power “Super Batteries” of Tomorrow

Alga blooms may have earned a bad reputation underwater, but above ground, they could rise to power in a very noble way.

Below the surface, these swarms of algae cut off oxygen in the water, threatening wildlife, livestock, and humans by making the water too toxic to drink or use for anything else.

But one group of scientists has taken an environmental threat and turned it into a green solution for supplying energy.

Teens Won’t Rest Until Vets Do: App Aims to Stop Night Terrors

A teenager’s concern for his dad has kept him up at night worrying, but his ultimate solution could help millions of veterans sleep better.

Tyler Skluzacek’s father returned from a year’s service in Iraq suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The veteran would wake up from deep sleep with night terrors or panic attacks.

Now an app to track heart rate and movement has been created by Tyler and his friends to gauge what the onset of an attack looks like in terms of physical benchmarks. When the symptoms occur, the app could nudge the wearer out of deep sleep — away from a night terror — without fully waking him.

The Android phone app can connect to a Bluetooth watch (costing as little as $30), which would be worn at night. Essentially, the system would detect the onset of night terrors and prevent them from happening.

The team, who call themselves “The Cure,” created the app in just 36 hours during Hack DC — an annual coding contest that had a theme of “hacking PTSD” this yea…

Mom Turns Canceled California Wedding Into a Feast for the Homeless

Thanks to one mother’s enlightened thinking, a canceled wedding resulted in a huge feast for nearly 100 of Sacramento’s homeless on Saturday.

When Kari Duane learned that her daughter and groom-to-be would not be going through with the ceremony, she decided to put that $35,000 reception to good use by inviting families who were going through hard times.

The decision drew the diners to one of the California city’s best hotels.

Muslim Woman Disarms Anti-Islam Protester With A Hug (WATCH)

What do you do when a protester stands outside your place of worship preaching words of hatred and intolerance?

If you attend the Noor Islamic Cultural Center, you give them a hug and free breakfast.
The mosque was prepared for angry protesters and signs after a Facebook campaign tried to organize picketing at dozens of mosques around the United States on Oct. 10.

With police and heavy hearts at the ready, the people who gathered to defend the mosque in Columbus, Ohio were surprised to be met with just a single protester–and, with a single act of kindness, that number went from one to zero.

Rudy Corpuz: It Takes a Hood to Save the Hood

Rudy Corpuz, an anti-violence activist was born and raised in San Francisco in the 1970s and 80s in a neighborhood where drugs and gangs were the norm. He had a rough start, never graduated from high school, didn't start reading until he was in the eighth grade, dealt and did drugs, and was a gang leader. He then had a magical turning point, a "a dramatic change of heart" that catapulted him into transformation, leading him to start United Playaz, an organization that is trying to make the SoMa neighborhood in San Francisco a safer place by working with youth on violence prevention and leadership through street outreach, case management, in-school service, recreational activities, and support to incarcerated youth. Read this article to learn more about Corpuz's journey from a gang member to a peace activist.

Daily Inspirational Quote – October 20, 2015

“I’m going to make the rest of my life, the best of my life.”

This should be a mantra for everybody to follow. It doesn’t matter what has gone before in your life, how old you are, what you possess or don’t possess, who you know……. Just to have the insight to realize that, by your own thoughts and actions, YOU have the power to ensure that every day, from this day forward, can be the first of many best days of the rest of your life. How amazingly liberating is that? It may take us a long time to learn that every day we live is a gift but the fact that we have gained this insight leaves us no excuse for then not living life to the full from the very second we do…….no excuse whatsoever.


Developing Your Yogic Superpowers by James Connor

Developing Your Yogic Superpowers 
to Make the World a Better Place

Anyone who casually skims the verses of The Yoga Sutra, the third century root text available in nearly every yoga studio, bumps into a most perplexing fact. The third chapter on Mystical Powers describes specific causes for supernormal abilities like mind reading, invisibility, and flying.
So what exactly are the causes for superpowers? And how can we develop them within ourselves to make the world a better place?

Fortunately, superpowers don’t come from radioactive spider bites or laboratory mishaps. Instead, Master Patanjali tells us in The Yoga Sutra that “The powers are found in love and the rest.” He’s referring to the Four Immeasurables: Immeasurable Equanimity, Immeasurable Compassion, Immeasurable Love, and Immeasurable Joy. These attitudes are immeasurable because they are aimed at every living being and because the merit they generate is immeasurable. Indeed, as Patanjali tells us, the merit from these attitud…

Celtic Tree Magic: 6 Ways to Work with Sacred Trees by Danu Forest

(Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal.)

What is your favorite tree? Ask anyone this question and you’ll be surprised by the answers; even the most urbane of us will have a tree we like the best, whether is a beautiful tree in a park or by the roadside, a special tree from childhood, or a favorite species. For me, it’s always an oak tree, its branches waving in the wind, its leaves dancing green and gold in dappled sunlight. Close your eyes and imagine yourself deep in a vast forest…imagine the smell of leaf mold and green life; feel the still, strong, numinous presence some trees hold; oaks, yews, and redwoods, the mysterious darkness among the pines, the bright, luminous elven shimmer of silver birches lit by spring sunshine…

All around the world, but especially in the Celtic lore of Ireland and the British Isles, trees hold a special position as totems of spiritual identity, as well as markers of our cultural heritage and qualities. The Welsh yew is a tree of national…

Daily Inspirational Quote – October 19, 2015

“Look for something positive in each day, even if some days you have to look a little harder.”

Some days you wish you’d just stayed in bed don’t you? The day might get off to a bad start. Perhaps stepping out of bed into a pool of cat/dog wee, stubbing your toe on the bathroom door, dropping your cereal bowl, etc. Then it goes from bad to worse as the day progresses. Everything you touch either burns or breaks. Nothing mechanical works the way it should and, to make it worse, you feel as if you’re coming down with something and don’t feel 100%. Then somebody annoyingly cheerful comes along and advises you to look on the bright side of things. When you’ve successfully restrained yourself from making them a lot less cheerful, perhaps you should take their advice and take time to look on the bright side. I’m sure there will be something in your day that will cause you to smile and feel happy even just for a short time, so why not be grateful for whatever it is and, who knows, your day cou…

The 5 Myths of Self-Compassion

Why are we so hesitant to offer kindness to self? When thinking of others, it feels good to share the deeper qualities of compassion -- qualities such as tenderness, understanding, and acceptance. And, yet? We experience so many hindrances in offering the same to self. In this must read article, author Kristin Neff tackles the misconceptions surrounding self-compassion.

Orphaned Sisters Reunite Working at Same Hospital Half World Away-Video

“I can’t believe I finally found my sister… I knew she was somewhere out there.”

But Holly never thought she would find that sister working in the very same hospital in the United States where she worked. An orphan from Korea adopted by an American couple when she was nine, there had been no record of a sister in the orphanage.

Meagan and Holly, 46, hired three months apart at Doctors Hospital in Sarasota, grew curious when they realized both shared the same last name of Shin.

Stanford Engineers Create Artificial “Skin” to Allow Prosthetics to Feel

Stanford engineers have created a plastic “skin” that can detect how hard it is being pressed and generate an electric signal to deliver this sensory input directly to a living brain cell. The work brings closer the day when a sense of touch is added to prosthetic limbs.
Zhenan Bao, a professor of chemical engineering at Stanford, has spent a decade trying to develop a material that mimics skin’s ability to flex and heal, while also serving as the sensor net that sends touch, temperature and pain signals to the brain. Ultimately she wants to create a flexible electronic fabric embedded with sensors that could cover a prosthetic limb and replicate some of skin’s sensory functions.

Bao’s work, reported Thursday in Science, takes another step toward her goal by replicating one aspect of touch, the sensory mechanism that enables us to distinguish the pressure difference between a limp handshake and a firm grip.

“This is the first time a flexible, skin-like material has been able to detect pr…

Daily Inspirational Quote – October 18, 2015

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”

This has a ring to it doesn’t it? So true too and very simple to understand. It is your attitude that determines how you will get through life and how high you will fly, not the skills you possess. You may have mastered your craft and be very talented or gifted but, if you view and live your life with the wrong attitude, it is very unlikely you will ever experience “lift off” and the stars will always remain out of reach which is such a shame don’t you think when, just by changing the way you look at things, could help you reach your own personal star.


Why Free Money Day Makes You Richer

"In a world where hoarding wealth is considered the norm, giving money to complete strangers -- with no strings attached -- seems like a radical idea. Yet, for the hundreds who have taken part in Free Money Day since its humble beginnings in 2011, there is a knowing that greater sharing is needed in this world -- now more than ever."