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Here’s this week’s edition of Feel Good Friday.  Remember to focus on what you want to see in the world.  That’s not to say to ignore the negative stuff, but try not to focus on it.

People pay MORE for coffee on the honor system.

Acid rain effects are reversing.

You can’t change what happens to you, but you can change how you react to it.

Celebrity employs the homeless to make jewelry.

Florida cop helps man in wheelchair.

“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth: not going all the way, and not starting.” -Gautama Buddha

My new yard!

My new yard!  Very green…

Sorry for the lack of updates for almost a week.  As some of you know, I completed my move from Arizona to Texas this weekend.  My stuff moved out and into my new house two weeks ago (I’ve been camping in my living room) and this weekend, we moved the last of the things and the animals out.

We have six cats and two dogs, so the only logical and practical way to transport them is by vehicle.  So, we rented a minivan and I drove my Golf, and we took two days to drive  1,008 miles.  I had the two dogs and one cat, and the husband had the other 5 cats plus my plants.  Driving is not my favorite thing, as I consider it to be boring, so there were times on the very loooooooooong drive that I thought I wasn’t going to make it.  I thought I would just pull over to the side of the road and refuse to go any further.

Because we’re brilliant and organized, we didn’t leave until 5p.m. on Sunday.  We got to our hotel around 2 a.m.  Of course, because we got in late, we didn’t leave until late on Monday (noon), and got to our new home around 2 a.m. again!  Needless to say, between sleep deprivation, time changes, and a very long drive, I’m still tired and adjusting.  It’s going to take lots of coffee and naps before I’m back to normal (please note that I’m referring to my “normal,” not “normal normal”).

Last time we moved, the cats seemed traumatized, hiding and acting weird for weeks.  This time around, everyone is exploring, jumping on boxes, and generally having a great time.  Attitude makes a difference, even in cats!  We bought the dogs a tennis ball launcher yesterday, so they, of course, are perfectly fine.

Wish me luck unpacking!

Welcome to this week’s edition of feel good Friday.  I think that if we constantly focus on the bad news, that’s all we believe happens.  I’d rather feed what I want to grow, so I feed the good news (the flowers) and neglect the bad news (the weeds).

4 normal looking guys recreate underwear ads.  Way to go body acceptance for men too!

We’ve heard about all the bad stuff happening in Ferguson, but what about the good?

99 year old woman sews a dress a day for African girls.

Homeless vets build homes for other homeless vets.

10 cops caught helping others.

Kids dance to Pharell’s Happy.

Kindness isn’t as rare as the news and Facebook would have us think.  There’s kindness everywhere, and good people waiting to be kind.  The problem is that when we focus on all the awful stuff, people forget that kindness will mostly be returned with kindness.  Not always.  The world isn’t fair, and the there are people out there who will hurt you, usually because they’ve been hurt and don’t know how to deal with kindness.  But you can choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution.  Which will you choose today?

I don't need a reason to post a picture of a puppy!

I don’t need a reason to post a picture of a puppy!

I’ve been thinking a lot about age lately.  I’m turning 37 today, and the major problem is that I don’t feel 37.  I don’t feel like I’m on the shady side of 35 or approaching 40.  When I was in my 20s, I knew I was aging only because I saw the numbers creep up.  I didn’t have that awful time when I hit 30, and I’m not quite sure why.  I know I look younger than 37 because I get told that from time to time.  But even if I do start to look my age… so what?  Why is that a bad thing?  Age isn’t the enemy.  As long as I can still do the things I want to do, I’m good.  I know someone who’s hiked the Grand Canyon in his 50s, so I’m not out yet.  Sure, I have some aches and pains, but nothing that holds me back.

This partly came to mind because of my birthday, and partly because I read an article about Gwyneth Paltrow going through a painful process to look younger.  Well… she looks great, and I guess if your job is your body and face, then it’s important.  But that sounds awful to me.  I’m not willing to suffer for beauty; I just hope I’m one of those women who ages gracefully.  Luckily, the women in my family don’t wrinkle!

In any case, I’ve started applying more lotion, especially to my face, than in past years.  I never tanned, but I’ve been careless about sunscreen.  I now take care of these things and also try to wear a hat outside.  I’ll do things that are relatively easy, but painful, weird, chemical things to my face?  Uh… no.

I recently read Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl, and he talks about how a life well-lived is more valuable than youth.  Youth still has to find meaning and purpose in life, whereas someone with a life well lived has already found it.  My life isn’t about how I look, so why focus on it?  I’d rather focus on the things that are important, like being a good person and enjoying my adventures day to day.  Enjoying those adventures means I’m going to get bumps, bruises, scars, and age spots.  And that’s okay.  If I have a day when it really matters, I’ll wear make-up.

I’d rather be interesting than beautiful.

What lengths are you willing to go to for beauty?

 

Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver, Canada

I’m only sharing one thing today because it’s a 15 minute TED talk, but it’s amazing.  I laughed out loud at times and got teary eyed at others.  This is what happens when you treat people with respect.  Please take the time to watch it.

Teacher increases school attendance from 40% to 93% using the power of vegetables.

 

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

         -Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

Humans aren't the only ones with hoarding issues!

Humans aren’t the only ones with hoarding issues!

The first time I heard this term, I was working for CPS, and one of the foster parents and kids said that this was one of their favorite weekend pastimes.  I heard “yard sailing” and thought, “What is that?”  This particular foster mom was one of those who barely breathed when she talked, so I had no time to ask what she meant.  I eventually figured it out from context clues, but until then, just nodded and smiled.

We recently held our first yard sale.  I wasn’t sure what I’d think of it.  Usually I just give things to Goodwill, but I wanted to see if we could make some extra money, and we definitely did.  I read a little bit online for advice before I did it, but I learned a few things as well.

1.  Start early: We scheduled for 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.  6 a.m. to noon would have been better, or even stopping at 11 a.m. would have been fine.  The buyers, the ones who do this on the weekends get there early.  Everyone after 10:30 was mostly browsing.

2.  Wear sunscreen: seriously.  Put it on before you start.  You won’t have time to put it on later.

3.  Don’t bother to sell on Sunday.  No one is going to come, not unless you’re on a very main road.

4.  Be ready to bargain.  No one pays full price for things.  (But since I was going to give it away anyway, all was good.

5.  People might get insulted if you say no.  Someone offered me a price I thought was way too low, and when I said no, she rolled her eyes and got huffy.  The item didn’t sell and is currently on my Goodwill pile, so maybe I would have been better off selling to her, but I didn’t like her attitude.  Which brings me to the next one…

6.  If you’re a buyer, be polite.  I bargained with nice people way more often than with less than nice people.  I had one guy get something that was marked $20 for $10 because he was persistent and polite about it.

7.  Have fun.  After all, if you’re not having fun, what’s the point?

Words to live by!

Words to live by!

I HATE the new “chain letters.”  Remember, back in the day, you got these chain letters, and if you didn’t copy them 437 times and redistribute them, your head would fall off and crows would pick at your mangled body?  Yeah, well Facebook has the new chain letter.  And instead of threats, it comes with a hefty dose of guilt.

I want a cure for: cancer, diabetes, animal cruelty, male pattern balding, menstrual cramps, stupidity, egotism, and etc.  I want children to feel beautiful and people with mental illness to be accepted.  But I don’t necessarily think that sharing some cutesy picture with a catchphrase and “Repost if you hate whatever.  I bet 99% of you won’t” is helpful.  Some doctor is not going to come along and say “Oh, because I’m getting all this encouragement from Facebook, now I’ve found the cure!”  I don’t repost it; I am the 99%!  But I feel a nagging sense of guilt when I don’t.  Because, after all, I do hate herpes and brain rot (I just made that up).  I just am not sure why I need to remind all my friends of this 1,371 times a day.

Sure, there are some things I share because it’s important to raise awareness.  We’re not going to find a cure for depression anytime soon, but talking about it can de-stigmatize it.  A lot of parents aren’t aware of how rampant bullying is, both in school and online (and adults get bullied these days too!) so sharing information about bullying is important.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t share things on any and all issues, and I’m not saying that awareness isn’t a helpful tool in general.  What I am saying is that I hate that feeling of being manipulated, like I’m a bad person if I don’t share this stuff, or that I don’t care.  I care.  I just am not going to repost it.

Recently, there have been a lot of songs and videos coming out about natural beauty.  There’s also been a push toward acceptance of larger body types.  Part of what concerns me though, is that the discussion seems polarizing.  When we say that bigger is okay, we don’t just say it’s okay, but better.

Like this!

Like this!

This is the kind of thing I see on Facebook all the time.  It takes the shaming from the fat girls and transfers it to the bony girls.  I had a friend in high school who was super skinny, and the truth is, she was just built that way.  I don’t know if her body knows how to build fat.  But she was a pretty girl, and more importantly, one of the kindest, most interesting people I’ve ever met.  When I think of her, I don’t think about her body type first, because it’s not the most interesting or important thing about her.  The same way that my extra weight isn’t the most interesting or important thing about me.

I did an experiment in my group.  We were talking about body type and how weight gain can lead to relapse on drugs.  I asked the group members what comes to mind when they think of me.  They said things like “kind,” “smart,” “teacher,” etc.  Then I asked, “Does anyone care about my weight?  When you thought about that, did the fact that I’m fat come first?”  The room fell dead silent.  One of the people in my group whispered, “I never thought about it that way.”  We place so much weight (pun intended) on body type, but not on what’s really important.

In All About That Base, Meghan Trainor declares “Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top.”  Here’s the thing.  Skinny isn’t better.  “Curvy” isn’t better.  They both just are.  I’m overweight, and I’ve pretty much always been.  But I was also pretty gorgeous at one point, and looking back, I’ve realized that I should have celebrated my body type instead of envying my skinnier friends.  When I look in the mirror now, I try to see the things I like about me instead of picking out the flaws.  I need to lose a few (dozen) pounds now as I am way too overweight, but I’m never going to “thin.”  My BMI is never going to be in the range it’s “supposed” to be.  I have hips and a large chest, and I’m okay with that.  I focus on eating fruits and vegetables, hiking, and playing with my dogs.  That’s what healthy is for me.  I’d like to lose weight more for health reasons than aesthetic ones (mostly).

For you skinny ladies out there: your shape is your shape too, and you shouldn’t have to be ashamed of being naturally thin or athletic.  You don’t need a diet (you’re not fat) and you don’t need to put on weight (unless your doctor said so, in which case then do what your doctor says.)  You look great the way you are.  All different body types make the world an interesting and beautiful place.  We need to celebrate our differences, not say that one is better or worse.  Sure, some people find one type more attractive than the other, but one person likes chocolate, another person likes vanilla, and a third person likes Rocky Road.  My point being that my love of mint chocolate chip doesn’t mean that cherry vanilla is bad; it’s just not my thing.

Focus on improving your mind and your character.  Be giving and loving.  We like looking at gift wrap and bows, but at the end of the day, no one cares about that.  You’re a gift, and it doesn’t matter what you’re wrapped in… it really is what’s on the inside that counts.

Another week of some good news.  I had to limit myself to only 5 articles this week as there’s a lot of good stuff going on.

Miss Idaho isn’t afraid to be real.

A woman sees her own beauty in a picture taken by her kids.

Rescued puppy is rehabilitated.

Raju the elephant is rescued from cruelty.

Police officer saves 5 kittens.

 “It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.”
― Chuck PalahniukDiary

He's so little!  And cute!  And little!

He’s so little! And cute! And little!

Growing up, we had rescued dogs and cats.  I honestly didn’t know there was another way to get a pet, other than going to the animal shelter and finding one.  You want a pet?  Go to the Humane Society.

I have mixed feelings toward animal shelters.  I’m so grateful that they’re around and that they take care of these wonderful animals who would otherwise have no place to go.  On the other hand, they make me incredibly sad that I can only help one at a time.

We currently have 8 pets.  Of those 8, half were rescues, one was a stray who literally found me, and the other three were from people whose animals had an oops because they weren’t spayed or neutered.  (Always spay and neuter your pets, people.  One animal is euthanized every 11 seconds… even when you find them homes, that doesn’t guarantee they won’t end up in an incredibly crowded shelter.  Okay, PSA over.)  I got all my current pets as babies, but prior to that, most of my dogs had been at least 9 months old when I got them from the shelter.

Personally, I prefer older dogs.  Cats are different, since I have dogs.  Kittens just adjust better to dogs, especially if they didn’t grow up around them.  But for dogs, as cute as the puppy stage is, I’d rather not have to go through it.  My parents recently got a puppy, and I’m pet-sitting.  He’s cute and sweet and cuddly.  He’s also an incredibly good puppy who knows what he’s allowed to chew and what he isn’t.  (We won’t mention the couch incident at my parents’ house.)  But, he’s a puppy, which means I’m exhausted from keeping eyes on him at all times.

Older dogs have already gone through that stage, and if they aren’t housebroken all the way, it doesn’t take much for them to learn.  We got Charlie when he was 2.  He was a lab mix, and slid into our household like he’d always lived there.  We never had one bit of trouble with him, and I spent my entire childhood with him.  He got cancer, and we had to say goodbye when I was in college.

The next shelter dog we got was Lucy, my first puppy.  She was high strung and barked a lot.  She was obviously part collie, and it was where I learned that even in mutts, breed is important.  She ended up being my mom’s dog more than mine.  She likes high-strung dogs.  I prefer the more laid-back labs and German Shepherds.

Not long after, my dad got Effie, a full grown German Shepherd mix.  Effie was a one person dog, and she adored my dad.  She was one of the most loyal dogs I’d ever seen.  My dad grew up on a farm, where all animals had a purpose, but Effie is the one who taught my dad that sometimes that purpose is love.

We lived in the country and didn’t have fences.  Unfortunately, we lost both Effie and Lucy to the road, many years apart.  Both were heartbreaking.

I have never had a “bad” or “defective” shelter dog.  I’ve had only wonderful dogs, who’ve taught me so many things.  Stardust taught me patience and tolerance and how to train a dog. She came to us at 9 months old, the sweetest dog I’ve ever met.  She also peed all over any time anyone raised their voice, even if it wasn’t at her.  If you moved too fast, raising your arm, she flinched and peed.  We learned to speak softer and move slower.  I learned how to discipline a dog in a way they understand, and I eventually had to take obedience classes so I could learn to speak her language.  She eventually grew out of the peeing thing, and was the best dog I’ve ever had.

I recently read an article about a woman who “hospices” dogs.  She apparently goes and takes dogs who might have less than a year to live, brings them home, and makes sure they’re comfortable.  What a heartbreaking and brave thing to do!  I wish I could do something incredible like that.  But I don’t have the strength, so I’ll just be the best fur-mom I can to anyone who comes in my door.

If you’ve ever thought about adopting, and didn’t because you were worried about how what kind of pet they’d make, give it another look.  Honestly, shelter pets are the best.  Usually they were returned because of the human’s situation; not the pet’s issues.  Moving, job changes, allergies, are among the most common reasons animals are returned.  Only a small percentage are returned for behavior issues, and those can usually be managed if the human is willing to take obedience classes and learn other ways to communicate with their dog.

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