Friday, February 28, 2014

EVERY LITTLE THING COUNTS.

A seatbelt saved my cousin's life today.

Two minutes of a neighbor's help changed my day yesterday.

An elderly woman's wave brightens the lives of an entire generation of high schoolers in her town.

What little thing will change your life?
What little thing will you do to change someone else's?

Reverse Psychology 101...a twist.

Excellent...don't give up on it too soon!

And recently, a young man in 8th grade created a poem in a similar fashion.  Also awesome.  

See?  
We can reverse the negative things in our lives and make them positive!

Awesome reminders of just how easy it can be :-D

Here's to you, Alcohol.: Bell's


So...alcohol.  Most people in the world will probably try you at some point in their lifetime.  Some will do it to find themselves, some to escape themselves, some to continue their life as normal, others to celebrate their lives never being the same again. 

Hopefully they will not abuse you or use you "too young."  Hopefully you will not take over their hearts and minds and bodies and run them into the ground.  Hopefully you will be a simple addition to their happy moments in life, and neither the entirety of it nor the end of it. 

Here's to you, alcohol...
...and to the people who want you around for the good moments and in moderation.
 
Great work, Bell's.  A wonderful representation of what alcohol should mean in the greater perspective of life, the love of parents, the 'normalization' of colored men (instead of their typical commercial portrayal), and so much more.  Brilliant.

Smile! It's Friday!

Click: You're Welcome haha

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Passions + Talent = Purpose

"Where your passions and your talent meet, there you find your purpose."

A post on someone who seems to have found his purpose, and it makes the world a more beautiful place both literally and figuratively!  This artist moved from Colombia to Costa Rica where he opened his own art gallery and has been creating works of art from paintings to jewelry of the most perfected and obscure types!  

Keep seeking your purpose!  It's out there :)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Truth is...You already know but you choose to forget sometimes

Great article on 10 things we know but we pretend that we don't.  It's amazing how quickly our minds can jump from one "known" to another.  We can be elated and ecstatic and empowered over an amazing quote and then, seconds, minutes, hours go by and something happens and we are deflated. 
 
What happened to the joy? 
What happened to the excitement? 
What happened to life?!
 
It's there!  It's always been there for you.  It's always ready and yet never waits...because time stops for no one, but neither does it reject anyone. 
It's magical, really.

So, without further ado...I give you "10 Painfully Obvious Truths that Everyone Forgets Too Soon."

I personally found myself inspired by 3, 5, and 9.  I think what strikes us most is almost always the thing that we, in any given moment that it strikes us, are most in need of.  Tomorrow, I'll probably change my mind. 

We look for what we need...which one do you need most today?

Read and imbibe them all, but focus on the one that you need
...and don't forget it until you no longer need it. 
Repeat.

There is Good in People...Look for it.

If you were mugged for your wallet, what would you do?  The obvious choice is to give up the money...people who are desperate enough to steal from others with a weapon (of any kind) are probably desperate enough to use it, and you shouldn't chance it. 

My grandmother is 4'10"-ish...There's only one of her 20 or so grandchildren that hasn't surpassed her in height yet and he is about 5 years old...so he has some time.  Point is, she's a little lady.  She once told me that she had a plan...if anyone ever tried to hurt her or steal from her, she said "I'd ask what his/her mother or grandmother would feel." 

It touches the core of people to reflect on things they have been taught and on people that they love.  People are good but sometimes they become so desperate (and for a plethora of reasons that I am not here to defend nor to judge) that they lose hope and can't trust in goodness, alone, to get by. 

That's why I'm glad that this story is out there: 

A man who was mugged offered his jacket as the teen mugger went off.  And the teen came back.  The man took him to dinner and showed him what it is to be kind and genuinely interested in the well-being of others, even when at the disadvantage of having just handed over his wallet.  And you know what he found?  Good.  He found a lost kid who was desperate and in need of some hope and that's what the victim gave him.  In return, he got his wallet back and the kid's knife, which he asked for.  There is good in both parties in this story. 

Don't be so quick to judge.  Look for the good.  Inspire hope.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Ignition...sounding cleaner than ever

Jimmy Fallon does it again...takes a hit song and turns it into something even more marvelous than the original.  In this shining example of awesome, he takes the lyrics and melody of R&B/rapper R. Kelly's song Ignition (Remix)...and RE-re-mixes it...as 1/4 of a barbershop quartet.  Somehow the song sounds so much cleaner when it comes out of 4 men in candy-colored stripes?  It made me laugh out loud.  Worth a watch especially if you know the original.

Man's best...back seat driver?

Too cute!  There's always gotta' be a back-seat driver!
At least this one will watch your back ... and your bike :)

Breaking Stereotypes: One cover song at a time

When you can get high school guys to stand away from a wall at a high school dance?
 It's usually a major victory. 

To get them to sing and dance freely?
Is practically unheard of. 
 
For them to sing and dance and encourage women to respect themselves by denying social pressures on how to dress, talk, and act? 
WHAT?!  Well crap...I'm dumbfounded and amazed and super-happy! 
 
Here it is! 
Guys breaking stereotypes about guys
by respecting girls who break stereotypes of "the norm" for girls
and making it cool as heck! 
I love it!
Respect starts with you - Be the Change!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Reward Good Service: A Follow-up

In response to the letter of appreciation that I sent to JetBlue at the end of January, I received an equally nice response from one of their team members today that I thought I should share.

Hello,

Thank you for your email and for taking the time to let us know of your positive experience with
JetBlue. With customer service as a top JetBlue priority, we appreciate knowing of instances where
we have met the expectations of our customers.

We have forwarded your letter to our JFK leadership team so your compliment may be shared with
Andrew and Michelle.

JetBlue was founded with the idea of bringing humanity back to the airline industry, and we are
pleased to know that our efforts to provide a comfortable and pleasant flight experience have not
gone unnoticed.

Our customers are the reason we continue to enjoy success as an airline. Thank you for choosing
JetBlue, we look forward to welcoming you onboard again.

Sincerely,

Rachael
Customer Commitment Crew
JetBlue Airways



They're getting it right.  :)  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The value of happiness: "Dark Side of the Lens"

Love this short film by a surfer/boogey boarder/diver/photographer/videographer, Mickey Smith out of Ireland.  What starts around 4:40 is the best part.
 
It's about the value of being happy and I think he explains it quite well.

Easter Island and Complacency

So the old hypothesis about Easter Island is that somehow humans destroyed basically all of their means of survival and died off.  A new hypothesis out there is actually as frighteningly real as the first in modern terms and is, in part, why this blog exists. 

The new story is that by a combination of normal life and fate, some creatures we call "rats" stowed aboard and made their way with the inhabitants to Easter Island where they multiplied like crazy because they had no predators and destroyed their food sources (much the way humans are said to have done in hypothesis numero uno).  Now, that part isn't so scary unless you hate rodents...in which case, keep reading and stop thinking about them. 

The second part of the story is that humans, who originally thrived and seemed to have a wonderful abundance of food and life-sources on the island, had their resources dwindle by their own or because of the (insert rodents here) fault or a combination and they began to die off or to continue to live by whatever means they could to "get by" which they continued to do as a fraction of the population survived on into the later centuries when they were re-discovered by outsiders. 

So what is terrifying about this is the idea that people on Easter Island became complacent.  Instead of recognizing that they were slowly losing their resources and therefore their access to this great life that they once had, they utilized their human nature of adaptability and flexibility and just "simply survived" instead of "really living."  Now this isn't my attempt at saying that having more is the most important thing or some other materialistic nonsense...after all, if that were the case, there'd be no argument because they certainly would have had a MOUNTAIN of rats...the equivalent of a full New York Street of Gucci stores or something(?). 

The point is that as humans, despite the fact that most of us dislike major changes, we are naturally an adaptive species.  We are able to live off of very little and as omnivores we are capable of sustaining ourselves on a wider variety of tasty morsels than say an herbivore or a carnivore which is more limited.  It's not all about food though, either.  Our bodies can adapt to different climates and we are able to construct and build upon our landscapes, which also makes us more capable of "putting up with" changes we previously didn't face.  It may pain us a little at first, because as I mentioned, it is a form of change, but the real issue here is the complacency...we do things because we are forced to change instead of recognizing a problem when it is still possible to have an effect on it.

So my challenge to you is to recognize something that you see as potentially problematic today (I know this exercise is different than most of our days when we look for happiness and rainbows, but we'll get there).  What is something that worries you in your life or in the world?  What is a change that you don't WANT to adapt to?  What is something you miss about how life used to be? 

Have an idea?  Good.  Now...alarm yourself.  What does that mean, exactly? Well...you actually already did it.  By choosing something about the world that you recognize as a potential problem that you do NOT want to have to change FOR or something that you DO want to revert TO...you have already alerted your system to a shock that it must face either to reverse the problem that would eventually cause your need to adapt OR to reverse a problem that you have already begun to adapt to. 

What now?!  Brainstorm.  How can I positively affect change so that change does not affect me?  How do I avoid complacency that occurs by accepting the "norm?"  How do I at least CONTROL the change that I DO want to happen instead of having negative changes forced upon me unknowingly, (and as we have discovered from your decision that it is something you dislike, we can also call it "unwillingly").

THERE!  Easter Island, hypothesis two, is not so scary when we can realize that complacency is human but that not all humans must choose to be complacent.  The Einsteins of the world, for example, did not do great things by doing what everyone else did.  Neither did world leaders or winners of Nobel Peace Prizes or even normal people doing everyday jobs like you and me.  Each person affects change in his or her own life in order to CONTROL the change instead of being complacent with "whatever happens, happens."  So, you actually already have some practice and expertise in this matter.  You have been affecting changes since you were young! 

So don't go Easter Island Part II on us here...
you already have the first few steps started toward something better...
BE THE CHANGE! 

Buy Fair, Be Fair - The Cycle of Life

You know how you take care of your kids when they're drooling and in diapers, and then they do the same for you later in life?  This is the Cycle of Life.  That's why I love when we use the cycle to teach ourselves things that we taught our youth, and then might have forgotten about, ourselves.  This is a good example, and is something worth looking into

International Inspiration for Change: 350.org

As per nearly anything that has Mandela's name on it, this video is an inspiration!  It is a reminder from the Global Power Shift Convergence in 2013 by the people of 350.org that we can make a difference and that there will always be doubt, until it is done!  Why not try?  It makes me feel empowered because it shows me that there are people around the world with the same hopes and dreams for a better world.  How about you?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pint-Sized Genius

The mind is an incredible thing...especially if you're the youngest person to be accepted into Mensa, the world's "genius" society...and you're only three years old.  Just a cool story about a little girl with a big gift!

A List of Things You Might Want to Consider...for laughs

I  love lists...and this one is no exception.  It's a list of things that someone out there in the cyber universe wants adults in 2014 to know (if they don't already), and it makes me laugh, so it's worth the read just for fun!

Graffiti Art...Warehouse-Style Sofles

I'm always amazed that artists can do what they do...especially when their works are bigger than they are.  The amount of control, understanding of scale and ratios and proportions and light and shadow are unreal.  Check out this fun video of some graffiti artists from the Sofles Crew killin' it in a huge warehouse!

Lessons for life: think big, be bold and bright, emit energy, and look at the big picture!

The Most Beautiful Love In the World...at 109.

I've said before that music can save the world...and here's more extremely moving proof.  One of the best things I have seen, perhaps ever.  How can one complain when you see a 109 year old woman, who lived through the holocaust because of her optimism and music, talking about the beauty of the world?

"Even the bad is beautiful...it HAS to be."
 
This is someone I would love to meet.  I wonder if I would be as optimistic as I am if I were to have been in her shoes.  I hope so.  I hope that I would take the advice of her friend's father and fill my head and heart with thoughts and music that no one could take from me.  I hope that I could see music as an escape, like I do now, and that I could see beauty in everything, as I try to now.  Alice Herz is beautiful.  Her attitude toward life is to be emulated, and should teach all of us that to lash out against others is never the answer. 
 
"Music is the first place of art.  It brings us to an island with peace, beauty and love."
 
Music allows us to express everything we feel and think and are.  It allows us to feel and think and be what OTHERS are.  Music is an incredible and incomparable form of communication.
 
"MUSIC...IS. A. DREAM!"
 
I have to believe that if this beautiful, bright, and shining example of hope and optimism of love for the world and all of the people in it can believe that there is nothing so bad in the world that she can't find beauty in it...then I should be able to see something beautiful in EVERY situation, person, and action, too. 
 
"Music is God.  In difficult times you feel it especially."
 
"There doesn't exist anything in our world (that is) only bad."
 
LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL.

7 Things You Can Learn from the Hearing Impaired

I LOVE this article by a young, hearing, girl. who was raised by two deaf parents.  Not only is the background for her musical upbringing a beautiful testament to good parenting and unconditional love, but her ability to give that back to her parents through this list of wonderful things she's learned by being able to compare both her hearing and non-hearing experiences are awesome.

A quick look at her list is the following:

1. Eye Contact
2. Don't Interrupt
3. Be straightforward/direct
4. If you don't understand/know, ask
5. Remove distractions
6. Be expressive - My personal favorite, because she explains the ways in which deaf people need to reach others on an emotional level through their body language and facial expressions along with their words, like artwork.  She also explained that they have less fear of what others think because they recognize that who they are and how they feel is ok to be expressed in whatever way necessary, crying and distorted looks, included!  I thought that was a really nice choice for #6!
7. The details

Obviously, for the full explanation, I would suggest reading her brief original article (I think she took her own advice from #3!  Thank you for the reminder.  Sometimes when people are "missing something" they are actually gaining so much more that we don't even take the time or energy to notice!  Enjoy the reminder of the things we CAN gain even in the hearing world from our non-hearing people!

Why being OVER-Optimistic Is Good for You

GREAT article on an entrepreneur website, but is really an excellent bit of scientific and psychological/sociological information to remind you why being SUPER "up" and OVERLY optimistic can make your life better!

I was once told by a friend that one of our no-BS office managers might not like me because she thinks I'm "fake nice."  I really took this to heart...and had to have an open talk about it.

Were people really so rude to her most of the time that a friendly "hello" and "pleases" and "thank you"s were exorbitant? Was I really SO optimistic and happy that it seemed feigned?  My friends had a good laugh at my expense, as my na├»ve mind questioned the possibility that I've been misunderstood and misinterpreted for my kindness and my "can-do" attitude and my "we're all beautiful" and "don't judge" slogans...

and then I said...I'm not.  I'm not fake, and I'm definitely not fake-nice.  I genuinely try to be happy and share happiness and optimism and positivity with others and want them to do the same.  THe only selfish thing about it is wanting it to be a chain reaction so that we ALL can have positive, happy, surroundings, which, yes, would obviously also benefit me.  But even if it doesn't come back around and Karma doesn't exist...I'm nice anyway.  So...whether you want to say I am so over-the-top and out-of-the-ordinary that I SEEM fake nice, or you want to call me OVERLY optimistic...this article might tell you why that is not only completely ok, but maybe something YOU should strive for, too!

Don't believe me?  See it for yourself!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

"Everyone deserves to love...

...and be loved fully and without shame or compromise." This is the main take-away from a great speech by actress Ellen Page at the Human Rights Campaign conference on Valentine's Day, 2014.  Her speech is honest, funny, heartfelt, and true.

Around 4:45 she'll give you some ideas on how to make the world better.  Almost always, when someone talks about human rights, whether or not they are directing their focus toward a certain underrepresented group, the advice serves the global population and this is not an exception.  Good work expressing yourself, Ellen.  Thank you to people around the world who support and encourage others to adopt and support equal rights for all of humanity in honor of and despite our differences.


Food Recovery Network...starting from a moment of clarity

Thank you Ben Simon and your crew for seeing waste and finding a way to use it for the good of all.  Less waste is awesome, and it's even MORE awesome when it's feeding people who otherwise might go without!

This is a fresh-food version of the food collection I did in undergrad just a few miles from the University of Maryland Campus!  Pretty awesome!

You CAN make a difference.  Sometimes the biggest difference starts from one small moment.

GO FOOD RECOVERY NETWORK!!
If you are a university student and want to get involved, please get in contact with these program leaders and find out how to get started!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Actions Speak Louder...

It is a common saying that actions speak louder than words...and perhaps it is because it is something that we SAY instead of always DOING that we constantly need the reminder.

One such case is that of American values: respect, fair trials, freedom, liberty, respect, human dignity, respect for life, respect for nations, nationalities, creeds, religions, genders, sexual preferences, RESPECT.

We have been failing to DO with our American values with regard to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba...a location that is not on American soil where our rules and international guidelines simply don't apply.  It's time for "Gitmo" and it's counter-active abuses of the system loopholes to be closed and to bring those pending trial to actual trial for their crimes or to be released under the same rules and regulations that we would hope our people would be given by international standards.  We must treat others how we would wish to be treated or we are failing our own standards.

We cannot sink to the level of those who dislike us, or we become them.

It is not a political issue;  It is a human issue.
Treat it that way.  Be the Change.

"If Only For A Second" : Improving lives one second at a time

A perfect follow-up to the "just a second" article... the Mimi Foundation apparently recognizes the value of a second, too.  Based on their patients, who are receiving cancer treatments, the Foundation chose to capture the value of a second on film.  To do this, they gave patients something they thought they couldn't have back post-diagnosis: freedom from thought...to be completely carefree for even just a second, which, if you read "Just a Second" you may now understand a little bit more.  The power of one second.  One second can change the world.  Watch the video.  You'll understand.

A good reminder that:
Every second counts.  Make them good ones :)

Just a SECOND, makes all the difference!

I remember one of the best soccer games I ever played.  We didn't even win.  

It was a battle royale.  The other team scored.  We PUSHED and PUSHED and it was so HARD.  The clock was ticking.  We never gave up.  We never surrendered.  We wanted victory.  We abhorred defeat and refused to lose.  We had to be our own heroes.  As the seconds ticked away, we did not grow weary, we grew stronger.  In the waning seconds of the game, we crashed the net.  From the keeper to our front line.  We were all in.  We were a team with nothing to lose.  The clock read 89:59... 

Game? 
Tied.  
Best. Game. Ever.  
For the first time, perhaps ever in my life, I recognized the value of a second.

Since that day, you will never see me leave a game early.   You will not see me lose hope even with what seems eminent defeat.  You will only see my resolve grow.  You will only see my feet dig deeper and my heart pound harder and my desire to go out at my strongest become reality.  And I may not win, but I will live remembering:
Every second counts.  
Live like it.

This is the 'Principle' Speaking: Suspend your coffee.

You may remember me mentioning the "day-long giving line" at drive-thrus in December.  I just found another way you can make a difference with your daily caffeine intake...you can check out the website Suspended Coffees to see which cafes around the world are participating, check one out near your local spots or when you're traveling and looking for a hot brew, show up, buy two coffees, "suspend" one, and they'll give it to someone else for you.  It's that easy :)

I love the slogan up on their site: "It's about more than the coffee."

Maybe you'll even find a cool new hangout when you check out these different cafes around the globe.

  You're welcome. :)

The missing camera...go humanity!

SO remember how humanity hadn't completely failed at being...human?

Check out this story from a friend:

"I stupidly left my camera near baggage claim at midway airport two weeks ago (yes, I know, SHOCKING that I would lose something . After spending the better part of a week making calls to the airport and Chicago police with no luck, in desperation I sent an email to the Southwest airlines lost and found center, even though I didn't leave the camera on the plane or anywhere near the gate. Three days ago, Southwest emailed me to say they found an item matching the description I gave, and this morning it arrived in the mail from Alabama(?)! Small bit of proof that there are lots of honest, kind strangers in the world, and that Southwest is undoubtedly the best airline in the US."

Nothing like a great ending to restore your faith in humanity!
Thanks for sharing, Elissa and keep up the great work, humans everywhere! 
Be The Change!

I stupidly left my camera near baggage claim at midway airport two weeks ago (yes, I know, SHOCKING that I would lose something ;). After spending the better part of a week making calls to the airport and Chicago police with no luck, in desperation I sent an email to the Southwest airlines lost and found center, even though I didn't leave the camera on the plane or anywhere near the gate. Three days ago, Southwest emailed me to say they found an item matching the description I gave, and this morning it arrived in the mail from Alabama(?)! Small bit of proof that there are lots of honest, kind strangers in the world, and that Southwest is undoubtedly the best airline in the US.


Let It Go!...

Sometimes when we're in a tough spot and having negative feelings and emotions, we have to "let it go."  I haven't seen the animated film "Frozen" yet, but I've heard great things about it.  This song is a cover of one of the theme songs that came out of the movie and is beautiful not only for voices of all of these amazing singers but also for the comforting message.  If you're going through something difficult, keep going!


The only time it's ok to make fun of people...

I actually don't think it's ok to make fun of people for any reason...looks, actions, style, etc...ALTHOUGHHHHH...I guess when it's between friends, like when you peed your pants from laughing so hard when you were in middle school and it really is all just water under the bridge, or you're Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and you're BFFs then it's ok...mostly because it's all about the charities!

Take a look at this fun promo video that they made to encourage people to donate money to some great organizations (water.org and the Eastern Congo Initiative) and perhaps win a date with these two goofballs.  Thanks for using your humor to make people laugh and for being able to take a joke to help others, "Matt and Ben"...or if you prefer, "Ben and Matt."  And finally, thanks to OMaze for creating this idea that giving can also be fun.  We really do get so much out of giving to others, but this organization has figured out great ways to sweeten the deal and make donations and giving easier with reasonable requests for those who want to help but can't give millions.  Cheers!


Friday, February 14, 2014

Being the Change: Homeless Hounds

When you see a way to help others, instead of asking "why should I?" ask yourself "why not?"

That's what Jennifer Lengel of Wisconsin did when she found out that many people when hardship falls on them have to part with their pets in order to move to temporary shelters where they are not allowed or because they cannot afford to care for them while they get back on their feet.  Jennifer understands the connection between pets and their owners.  So, as a service to those facing hardship, including a special contract for veterans, Jennifer has started a program called Homeless Hounds, to care for dogs temporarily while their families get back on track. 

 
Thanks for being the change!

Find your beauty!

It's no secret that I love the Dove advertising campaign.  A while back, they did a special study about our self-perceptions versus the perceptions that others have of us and the results were fantastic and sad.  To do this, two women (although I believe this study applies to everyone) who had never met had to sit and talk for an hour or so.  Afterward, each of the two women described one of them (one describing the "other" and the "other" describing herself.  Most people when talking about themselves drew upon their perceived negative features...'My eyes sag, I have wrinkles'...but other people saw the beauty in the others describing their 'bright eyes and soft smile.'  It's all a matter of perception.  When these people saw their own described image compared with what others saw, it was amazing to notice how much closer the strangers' descriptions were to reality than the descriptions given by the person who was being drawn. 

We need to start valuing ourselves and finding ourselves beautiful, too!  FIND YOUR BEAUTY!

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL THE WAY YOU ARE!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

You're Human...How to take your mistake and still be the change

No one is perfect...but that's why it's THAT much more important that we take the time and energy (and humility) to make it right when we can.

Just read an awesome article about a frustrated father traveling with his two children in an airport.  Yes, there are examples of people being selfish and not *being the change* but they haven't read this blog yet, so we'll give them the benefit of the doubt...for now ;).  He didn't write the article to tell people how terrible other people are, though, he wrote it for much more amazing reasons like "don't just the situation until you know the whole story," accept when you are wrong, and most importantly for the writer, always try to be the best example that you can, and try to find a way to rectify it when you are done.

I remember being little at the grocery store.  I wanted a piece of candy or gum or something and my mom told me I couldn't have it.  At the time, still learning what was right and wrong, I took it.  Before we even made it out of the store, Mom realized and instead of lecturing me and taking me running from her own embarrassment out to the car, essentially giving me the example that it's not ok but that embarrassment is less ok...she marched me back to the counter.  By this time I was nervous because I could tell she was upset with me, and I was upset because I did want the candy but she set the example by bringing me back, making me admit what I did wrong, and returning the candy.  We left, and she didn't need to say anything because she had SHOWN me what was right and wrong and I understood.  I don't think I ever stole a thing after that.  The stories are different in nature but the same in theory: people learn best by doing it themselves but first, they learn by example.  So help them learn first by example so that they don't have to learn "the hard way."

Be the example.  Be the change.  And when you're tank is low and you lose your cool and you mess up (young onlookers or not), see if you can overcome your own ego and do what's right, instead.  A good lesson in humanity...we're human, we get it...so how can you be BETTER? :-D

Coolest Principal and VP ever...Enjoy your "Ice-Days" while you got 'em

Two of the "cool"est heads of school I've seen yet...taking a hint from Vanilla "Ice" and letting their students know what's up for the storm!  Love the creativity and fun they put into this...and the lyrics are pretty bomb, too!  Enjoy your Ice-Day!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

An Unexpected Jam Session

I love a good jam session.  I had some incredibly talented friends in high school that left me in awe pretty much every time that they chose to sing, play piano/guitar/etc.  I am a musical person but they were on a whole different level of rockin'!

Now, sometimes, jam sessions happen unplanned...and this is an example of one of those times.  For some background, a Christian artist named Carlos Whittaker was recording a music video with his crew of his song when a homeless man approached, sat at his feet to listen, and then...JAM SESSION.

People are people.  Treat them with love. They all have something to share.  
How appropriate that the song is "Second Chances."

*For some rasta cultural background, "Jah" or "JahJah" is the word for "God."

It's not what you have, but what you have inside!

This guy proves that what you have inside is what matters most...and he shows it using some things that you could find just about anywhere.  Reminding us again just how amazing our bodies and minds are!

Great work, dude!  Thanks for sharing with the world!

Best Post About Working and Stay at Home Parents!

I've seen far too many nagging posts about what stay at home parents do, and too many sad posts from stay at home parents who just want to be understood.  I've heard people bash stay at home parents for staying home and working parents for working and not staying home.  So, this post right here has been the epitome of how I would like for us to try to look at one another in all aspects of life.  When we judge others, we have no time to love them for what they ARE and what they DO and what they LOVE and how they SHOW it.  We are all different and we have our own struggles but that's what makes each of us so awesome!  There is no one exactly the same, and no one so different that we can't see ourselves in them.  Thanks to the author, for sharing a positive post from two perspectives.  What a great way to explain the difficulty without the bashing or complaining...because that's not what life is all about anyway!  It's about the LOVE!! <3

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Mooji's simple goals: For your consideration

A beautiful list to consider...and each one requires it's own moment to ponder!  Take a minute to read, and notice how much tension you can read just contemplating these simple goals.


Relax without laziness
Focus without tension
Perceive without projecting 
Witness without judging
Enjoy without craving
Reflect without imagining
Love without condition
Give without demanding
Receive without possessing
Serve without self-seeking
Challenge without dominating
Meditate without identity
Correct without blaming
Overcome without pride
Laugh without cynicism
Cry without pity
Confront without hatred
Guide without superiority
Be without self-defining
Live without arrogance
Enter without self-importance
Depart without regret
Be one with God

~ Mooji

Black White & Rolly Polly

AH...What's Black and White and rolls all over??

PANDA IN THE SNOWWWWW!!!
*Try to remember the JOY that snow can be (& remember to stay warm)!*

That ugly "welfare" word that gets people going

That's right, I said it...WELFARE.  It gets conservatives who are anti-government to go hay-wire about their hard-earned tax dollars, and the Catholics who read the Bible to yell at the people who are going crazy because it's giving to the poor, and liberals to split in half because we've got a "some-give-all" crew who might be willing their kidney to help someone in need (at least in theory) and others who recognize that there are definitely some MAJOR issues with welfare, but there are also a lot of people who really do NEED IT.  

I think MOST Americans (and this is based on zero facts or figures and completely on conversations, angry facebook interactions and entertaining "democrats are non-working tax-sucking welfare-loving drains on society"-memes) actually TOTALLY AGREE that welfare is a major issue BECAUSE there are abuses.  Where there are differences seem really to come on how people would choose to solve it, or not.  This mostly leaves only a few actual boiled-down opinions which are "leave it alone, some people need it" and "get rid of it, 99% of people on welfare don't need it and the others aren't enough to make it worth it for my tax payments."  

While I recognize and understand both sides to this, I think what we'd all ACTUALLY like is welfare reform, which we are seeing slowly (but surely) in things like drug-testing people who receive welfare...because yes, I believe that you and your children and/or spouse should be living in a drug-free-zone if you are receiving public assistance since drug use is a criminal offense (I'd add that there should be more emphasis then placed on drug rehabilitation to help people who are both using drugs AND assistance to get them on the right path, but that may or may not be related to said welfare overhaul).  

So overall, the government is using only about 12% of your total taxes to help others.  Go on with your bad self for being generous by paying your taxes.  If you think this is a lot, then you can see how it's broken down further to realize that this 12% is not all welfare, either, and actually is split up even MORE to other good deeds to assist those with hardships.  Calculations actually show a decrease in this spending when the economy is doing better...less abusive people, less people "sitting on their butts collecting my hard-earned money" because, YES, the large portion of people that actually NEEDED those services 'during hardship' are hard-working people who DID stop needing the government system in place to help them when they fell down (as it would for you, if you were ever to say...lose your job in a small town whose mine had just closed because it's unhealthy for you, you have medical bills up the wazoo because you're been inhaling coal dust for virtually your whole life and you actually can't work because you're sick and your family member has to stay home to help you and therefore ALSO can't work...but that won't be you because you're not married, and you are not a coal miner...so you can ignore the example ---PLEASE NOTE THE SARCASM).

Ok--so since I'm not going to resolve the issue of welfare (at least not today) hopefully we've seen some information that helps us to understand that not all tax money that goes to public assistance is welfare money, and, more importantly, according to the numbers it helps people who don't just take from the system and continue to do so, but people who prefer to get back into work and their 'normal' lives.  

In case you still need any other reasons to believe that supporting the people who need it most in times of hardship is a good idea, even when there are abuses of the system...feel free to listen to what this world- renowned author has to say about welfare...and consider a few questions; How would the world be different if there was no "safety net" for people like her?  How many people who have gone on to do wonderful things came from homes or families that desperately needed help?  Would it be worth it not to have their contributions to society?  Can we apply this to all people and not just famous people who we have heard of and have some connection with?  Something worth considering...as usual, trying to present another perspective.

Police AND Protesters

Instead of the typical title which you'll see, we do not have a combative word here such as "versus" or "against" but "and," to represent a solidarity and collaboration to find a peaceful answer to the widespread mistrust of the Thai government. 
When Police allow protesters to peacefully demonstrate in Thailand in December, there is a greater possibility for open communication between all parties.  Since communication is the key to all relationships, and yes, governments and their people are in, often very complex, relationships...it's a great step.  This is especially true in this Asian country where police violence in the past has been brutal on occasion as well as in light of recent uprisings in the Middle East that have been anti-governmental and have resulted in violence.

I much prefer hugs and smiles and talking and parades of happy/content people to weapons, don't you?

Kids write the darndest things!

If you need a laugh (and who doesn't?) you should take 3 minutes to read the things these kids wrote...

Sometimes, I think kids are more logical than most adults 
and I almost ALWAYS think they are more honest!

Knowing is half the battle

I have to admit, even I am guilty of some of these situations...I maintain that knowing is half the battle, but I would add that sharing your knowledge is another 1/4 of it.  Knowledge is power.  If we begin to recognize the biases that we hold, for whatever reason we hold them, we have already taken a step to resolving those biases because that recognition is now part of our makeup.  It is in our brains both chemically and electrically wired.  So, the next time that we see the bias being generated, our brains will flash back to the point of recognition, and we will have the capacity to stop ourselves or to educate others, from the judgement that we have become mechanized to spew and to accept without thought or logic.

And now I give you, your moment of recognition, if you are honest with yourself (and it's hard to be when you see it just once, so it might take a few views to accept that you are a witness or a perpetrator of these thoughts or language).  An interesting take on male and female roles and how they are perceived because of our biases:


What if money were no object?

Many people are leaving their traditional careers for innovative jobs and self-started businesses, some unimaginable just a few years ago.  This is a trend around the globe.  It has to do with passion and what you like to do and how you can sell what you love, whether it be an object like art or writing pieces, or skills like language or window-washing, or playing a musical instrument.

In case you are skeptical about why it is such an important trend for humanity, and even if you aren't, you should watch this video.  I saw it a while ago and it has some really great leading questions that might help you to know what is best for YOUR situation, because we are all different, and therefore no solution will be exactly the same for any of us!

Football and Gay in the Same Sentence

Just wanted to give props to a writer via NPR who crushed any argument regarding why being gay and playing football removes some 'manliness' from the sport by negating all commentary from people who chose to remain anonymous as "unmanly," themselves.  If you can't stand behind your opinions as yourself instead of the all-too-well-known author named Anonymous, you're not much of a typical "man's man" yourself so you probably don't have too much leverage to bolster your opinions, facts, or whatever your negativity regarding a young man's future in a sport (that he is good enough to have gotten this far playing) is, exactly.

Also...why is it such a big deal that this guy would be the first openly 'out' (please see the article for a laugh on these terms)NFL football player when there have certainly been many 'not out' players that just kept their personal life...personal?  Leave their personal stuff where it belongs, no matter their sexual preferencesLive your lifeLove football or hate it because you do or don't and not because someone gay-bashes or gay-supports but because you care that huge dudes run, kick, throw, intercept and fumble a weirdly shaped ball 100s of yards once a week for multiple months so that you can be entertained.  Beyond that, just like movie stars, they are normal people doing normal people things (but probably with lots more money!).

Thanks for up-ending some strange media negativity and making it something that highlights what's actually important...recognizing that men are men are men...no matter what anyone calls "manly..." even you, eight men who not-so-publicly decried gayness and particularly gay football as an athlete, teammate, coach, or spectator as 'unmanly.'

And now, back to reality (and not the type you see on TV).

Something to daydream about...

Wishin' I was...

Monday, February 10, 2014

Smiles are like wagging tails...

...they let people know you are friendly and approachable!

Don't forget to smile!

It helps you:

A) Fake it 'til you make it.
B) Share kindness with people who need it most.
C) Make people wonder what you're thinking.

All of the above and more! 

What else does smiling do for you and others?
 

(Buddy the Elf, a great role model from the movie "Elf") :-D
 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A reminder about love...through love of a place

Reminding us what love is all about, this blog post  I just saw responds to another more negatively-worded post.  I love it because it shows that there are two ways to look at life.  If you look at it through the lens of love, like this one, then there is hope for a bright and happy future. 
Choose hope.  
Choose to be your own change.

Reason number 932874462395 I love the Olympics!

The athletes.  The camaraderie.  It's like the phrase "for love of the game"...and they all have it.  Sport.

Last night, while watching a plethora of athletic events and victories and failures of different athletes...I reflected.

These athletes are BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE.  Not only are they spectacles for the eyes because of their athletic and toned physiques, but they are graceful and their smiles light up the whole screen.  Their tears (and faces for holding back tears) are even beautiful.  They are so human and they remind us that we are, too.  We all know both the soaring and ecstatic emotions of victory as well as the dark and frustrating feelings of defeat.  But these athletes, like us, have found that the best way to move out of the darkness of defeat is to get up and try again, to brush away tears and to congratulate their fellow teammates, athletes, and competitors.  They know that only in respecting and learning from their own mistakes and from the skills of others can they become better than they were in their defeat.  It's beautiful.

I loved seeing the American, Norwegian, and Canadian snowboarders full of HUGE smiles that lit up the podium as they embraced one another in front of the world and were awarded the first medals of the Sochi Olympics.  THIS is teamwork.  This is beauty.  This is the Olympic Spirit that we know and love.  At the end of the day, above the competitions and the politics and the defeats, we are people and we are celebrating our victories TOGETHER.

Thank you, athletes, for being your beautiful, graceful, human selves...for singing your national anthems with pride and then embracing your competitors from around the world as friends.  You make it worthwhile to emulate professional athletes again.  You make the world better because of your tenacity and your ability to lift us with you as your spin and soar and skate and ski and push and speed along.  You bring us with you in your victory, and we continue to cheer you through your defeat so that you can rise again and continue the ride.

Go WORLD!

Be a Success!

Here are some things to help you see if you're setting yourself up for success!  Is there anything you can make an effort to do more or less of to be more successful?  If we are able to look at ourselves objectively and notice our own short-comings, we will be THAT much closer to being able to rectify these things and to be better people!  



I personally love the "keep a 'to-be' list" and would like to try this.  

I always try to tell people compliments that I previously kept to myself.  Why NOT share that you love someone's outfit?  Or that you like how someone sings or dances?  Or that you really appreciate that someone did such-and-such?  Making others happy makes us happy, too!  Yay for everyone involved!

I need to read more.  That's probably the one I do LEAST and need to make that a habit.  

Take a look!  
What can YOU do better to make you more successful?!

Oceannow

OCEANNOW is an organization dedicated to protecting the oceans of the world (which cover 72% of planet Earth) from our own human destruction, for our own benefit.  We receive half of our oxygen from the life in the oceans, which also provide us with food sources and give the world's living populations balance, when functioning as it should.

There are negative impacts that have happened, but it's possible to make a change.

You can see their National Geographic-sponsored video here and follow the instructions to find out more on how to help.  It's never too late to make a Change!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The next Matisyahu? Garden of Eden rap!

This Jewish rapper, Ari Lesser, is awesome!  
Check out his skills!

Be good to each other :)

Love seeing these cool videos of how different religions are bringing their faith (whatever it may be) into the modern day!  Living the overall belief of all religions that I've ever heard of, calls primarily for being good and treating others with kindness.  
That's ALWAYS a belief I can get behind.