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There’s so much good stuff going on in the US this week that I had trouble finding only 5 articles!  I ended up with six today, but I could have gone on and on.  Enjoy!

22 year old graduates valedictorian from college after dropping out of high school.  After Michael Moubarek had an accident that could have killed him, he decided to make some changes, went back and finished high school, and now intends to be a doctor.  Great article, and it just goes to show that no matter what, life can change anytime.  Never give up!

5-year-old invites homeless man for a meal at the Waffle House after learning what “homeless” meant.

Police in Farmington, NH have started stopping people to praise and reward them for following laws.  Police said they feel like it’s helping them to get to know the community, and also nice to be able to have positive interactions with people.  They reported that they thought of the program after seeing a man go out of his way to use the crosswalk after heavy snow.

Teens take service dogs to prom.  Neither of them planned to go to prom, but then they met because of their service dogs, and decided to go together.  Cutest double date ever!  This is a video.

Update.  Last week, I posted about a veteran who has prostate cancer and was released from the hospital to a home with no food.  He called 911, and since then, he’s continued to receive food donations and is now getting Meals on Wheels.  It’s nice to see how much people care.

America’s oldest park ranger advocates for people of color, and she hopes, opens options to little girls.

Clickbait are those headlines that promise something stunning, shocking or salacious.  We click on them because we want to know the dirt on celebrities, that miracle cure that will make us skinny, or that secret that will make us rich.

I have to tell you something.

Celebrities are just people.  People who often have their bad days recorded for posterity.

There is no miracle cure to make you skinny.

Unless you work for it or have a secret rich relative somewhere (you don’t), you’re not getting rich.

Don’t want to see clickbait?  Stop clicking on it.

Clickbait happens to sell advertising.  They don’t care if you read the articles attached to them or not.  They just care that you clicked, because advertisers pay for “clicks.”  The articles are often cobbled together without regard to the English language.  I’ve read many of them so that you don’t have to.  Trust me; you’re not missing anything.

If you want to see more positive stories, or important stories, “click” on those.  Because Big Brother is watching our choices: on Facebook, on Google, in your email, what you pay attention to is what you’ll be shown.  Advertising exists to sell you things, and companies will put advertising where you’re likely to see it.

The power to change the focus is in your hands.  It’s in my hands.

Choose wisely.

Once upon a time, when I was younger, and knew everything, I thought that it was okay to let people know I didn’t like them.  I thought that being misanthropic toward people meant I was being honest.  I’m an introvert, so my default setting is to not like anyone, especially when I first meet them.  Therefore, if someone irritated me more than the normal why-do-I-have-to-interact-with-other-humans reaction, I would make sure they knew that I didn’t like them, using snide remarks, sarcasm, and occasionally out and out ignoring.

Yes, as an “adult,” I often acted like a 5 year old.

In my defense, I have made friends with some strange characters who didn’t have boundaries, and in the cases, the only way I found to discourage them from following me around was to be rude.

But still, that’s no reason to treat other people badly.

I had been sort of coming to that realization for awhile.  I realized that the people who I admired most were kind to everyone, and didn’t treat others badly, even when they deserved it.

Then, I started work at a new place, and most everyone ignored me.  They weren’t mean; just indifferent.  I didn’t feel welcome, except for two people who went out of their way to be helpful and kind.  I realized that the “honesty” I thought I was selling was really snake oil.

How you treat people says more about you than it does about them.  What do I want my behavior to say about me?  Do I want it to say that I’m judgmental, unkind, and disinterested?  Or do I want it to say that I’m accepting, kind, and helpful?

I still prefer to be left alone, and it can be hard to get interested in new people, but I try to make an effort, at least to smile and have a conversation, because that’s how I would want someone to treat me.

What do you want your behavior to tell others about you?

How To Succeed

“Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.”
-Samuel Johnson

Very few people get anything really important on the first try.  The difference between someone who is successful and someone who fails is often how many times you’re willing to try.  This week, keep in mind that no matter what happens, you can be ultimately successful if you keep trying.

Hello!  It’s Friday again, many people’s favorite day of the week (second only to Saturday).

I’ve summed up the stories I’ve posted, but these aren’t the complete stories.  Click the link to read the entire articles, see the pictures, or watch the videos.  Thanks for stopping by, and I hope these stories make you smile, the same way they did for me.

911 operator buys food for an elderly vet who needed help.  He was in the hospital, and when he was discharged, he had no food at home, no family to help, and no way of buying groceries.  The 911 operator and police bought him food and took it to his house.  He is now receiving assistance from social services.

A Phoenix police officer helped a homeless man by taking him to the hospital and making sure he had a plan to care for himself after surgery.  These things weren’t his job, but he did them anyway.  If he didn’t do them, they might not have gotten done, and the man obviously needed the help.

A school sends home an uplifting letter before a big test, to remind children that the test does not measure everything that’s important.  The original letter was apparently written in 1999, and it occasionally goes viral.  It just goes to show that we’re all hungry for positive feedback and that tests measure very little of who we actually are.

A teenaged boy took his great-grandmother to prom because “she’s the prettiest woman.”  The month before (linked in this article), another teen took her grandfather to prom.  Proms have come under fire for being superficial and girls wearing inappropriate dresses, so it’s nice to see this newer trend with teens taking family members or friends to prom.  (I’m a sucker for these stories.)  Here’s a link to another one where the high school quarterback took his friend, a girl with Down’s Syndrome, to the prom.

Shelter dog scheduled for euthanasia is adopted by a veteran, and is now in the running for hero dog of the year for helping the vet manage his PTSD and traumatic brain injury.

That’s all I’ve got for this week, but that’s obviously not all the news.  Remember, there’s a lot of good things in the world.  It’s what you focus on that matters.

Have a wonderful weekend!

In Death, a Review

On Throwback Thursdays, I review older books.

The first “In Death” book was published in 1995, and #41 is scheduled to be released this fall.

Naked in Death is the first in the series, and it introduces Eve Dallas, a hard edged “murder cop” in New York City, circa 2058.  Dallas is the main character throughout the series.  Each book has her conducting at least one investigation into a murder.  In this first book, she must investigate the murder of a senator’s granddaughter.  She also meets Roarke, an Irish gazillionare with a secretive past.

The books have a little bit of everything: romance, mystery, intrigue.  Amazingly, JD Robb has not repeated the same story twice.  They’re new and interesting.

One of my favorite things about this series is that Dallas and Roarke get together over the course of several books and (spoiler alert) eventually marry.  However, we’re not left with a happily-ever-after romance book ending romance.  They argue like real married people, have conflicts, and continue to learn more and more about one another.

Dallas develops friendships and builds relationships, and some of these people stay a part of the world.  Her relationships with others are complex and interesting.  While you could pick up any book in the series and enjoy it, I think they’re much more enjoyable as part of a series.  The people within the pages of this book have become my friends; people I can root for and really enjoy seeing triumph.

Don’t get me wrong; all the characters have flaws.  But that makes them even more real and endearing to me.

If you like a little bit of everything, mixed up and tied together with a good murder mystery, this may be the series for you.

Judgement Free Zone

There aren’t many judgement free zones these days.  Facebook has become an excuse to post all kinds of judgements that come in the form of complaining about others, commenting on articles, and other things too numerous to list.

This morning, a friend of mine posted a picture of a sports car parked in a handicapped spot, and a lot of people commented that the friend should park too close to it, that if someone can get in and out of a car like that, they don’t need a handicapped space, that the person who had that car was probably “lawsuit-happy,” and other things.

I want to encourage you to try to make your brain into a judgement free zone, free from judging yourself, and free from judging others.  I con’t know how many times I’ve heard people say some variation of “don’t judge me until you know me.”

Well, guess what?

We all have stories.

I get it; it’s easy to jump to conclusions about people.  It’s easy to say that if a person is handicapped, they shouldn’t be getting in and out of a sports car.  But there are a lot of handicaps that don’t show.  People sometimes have muscle disorders that make it difficult for them to move.  Or maybe they’re moving just fine now, but can’t predict if they’ll still be moving fine five minutes from now.

I know someone who’s had 3 or 4 cervical spine surgeries.  This person has struggled with walking.  Some days she can walk a mile.  Some days she falls a lot.  She used to have to ride a motorized cart around the grocery store, and it embarrassed her because she thought people would think she was using it because she was “fat” instead of because of medical issues.  These days, she doesn’t need the cart, but parking lots continue to be tripping hazards.  She still parks in the handicapped spots because she is handicapped, and she never knows when she’ll struggle with walking.

She’s relatively young looking, and most of the time, she walks fine.  She doesn’t limp or stumble, and you can’t see the scars on her neck because they’re covered with hair.  It would be easy to assume that she parks in the handicapped spot because of her weight or because of laziness.

Don’t judge.

If you want to make an assumption, assume that everyone has a story.  When I first started trying to change my mindset from judgement to acceptance, I found it easier to make up stories about someone.

That person who cut me off in traffic isn’t a jerk; he just got the news that his child is sick and he’s rushing home because he loves her so much.  That person who was rude to me in the grocery store was up all night caring for her mother, who has cancer.  That 20 year old who parked in the handicapped spot and appears to be in perfect health actually has multiple sclerosis.

It doesn’t matter to me if these stories are true or not.  What matters is that they could be true.  How horrible would I feel if I found out that one of those things was true, and I hadn’t responded with compassion?  I’m okay with being wrong in the opposite direction; I was compassionate and kind, but the person was really a jerk.  I can live with that.  But unkindness to someone who’s struggling with something?  Wouldn’t I want people to be a little kinder to me if I were trying to manage a heavy burden that day?

None of us is going to be perfect at this.  There are days when I just want to growl at everyone and everything.  But I would hope that on those days, someone out there who has to deal with me, thinks, “I bet she’s not always like this.  She’s probably just having a bad day, so I’ll be a little nicer.”

Kindness costs nothing, but judgement is expensive.

Family

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and while many people have loving mothers, many others had to spend the day without theirs because of death or distance.  Many people, however, have toxic relationships with their parents, which makes Mother’s Day a painful day.  I would just like to remind you that:

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.”
          –Richard Bach


Family can be blood, but it doesn’t have to be.  If you haven’t already done to this weekend, make sure you take time out this week to appreciate someone with whom you have that mutual bond of joy and repect.

Feel Good Friday

Hey everyone, it’s Friday!  Here’s a bunch of news stories I came across this week.  Let’s change the focus and make sure we take a look at all the good things in the world.

This is my happy place.   Photo Credit: Doree Weller

This is my happy place.
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Grieving mama cat gets to foster 3 newborn baby kitties.  The article has pictures attached!  Who doesn’t want to see a mama cat with kitties and a happy ending?

Are you in the mood to cry a little?  Then watch this video about Caleb as he recovers from a Traumatic Brain Injury with the help of canine therapy.

A man notices a homeless guy and offers him work.  I like this story because it shows that not everyone who is homeless is there because of drugs or laziness.  People are individuals, NOT their situation.

Old Men Grooving on Britain’s Got Talent.  This is such a fun video.  Five adult men who look like average dads or middle aged working men show their stuff doing a street dancing/ hip hop routine.  I love this because it shows that when you enjoy doing something, you’re fun to watch.  Plus, it’s never too late to do what you love.

Cop dressed as Superman spends the day with a child.  A police officer from Texas saw a story about a 7 year old.  He’s part of an organization I’ve never heard of but now think is awesome: Heroes, Cops, and Kids.  He drove to Illinois to spend the day with the child, who reportedly said “wow” over and over.

German Shepherds more accurate than a machine when it comes to detecting prostate cancer.  Is there anything those amazing canines can’t do?

Hope you enjoyed your dose of happy.  Go forth and prepare for an amazing weekend.

On Throwback Thursdays, I review an older book.

thI didn’t have high hopes for A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving.  Published in 1989, it’s on my list of 100 Classics that I’m working my way through.  A friend of mine has consistently stated that this is one of her favorite books, and though I love her, she and I often have opposite reactions to books.  She’ll race through things I find dreadfully boring, and I’ll rave about a book she thought was just okay.

I’m also doing a book reading challenge to read a specific type of book every month this year, and that month’s book was to read a book you’ve “been meaning to read.”  I figured that reading this book would kill three birds with one stone.

It’s not the easiest read.  The story captured me from the very beginning, and then promptly had long stretches of boring. It took me awhile to get through it, but I read the last 100 pages breathlessly, shushing my husband when he tried to talk to me.  Sometimes books make you wait until the end to pay off, and you’re like, “That wasn’t worth it.”  This one is.  It’s worth reading the whole thing to get to the ending.  I’m not saying that the ending is the only good part of the book, not at all.  The book is interesting, but the plot moves slowly at times.  Unlike some books that I can read in a single sitting, I read this one a little, put it down, picked it back up, and so on.

I definitely recommend it with two thumbs up, but if you read it, be prepared to put some work into it.  And be prepared to clear your schedule for the ending; you won’t want to take a break at that point.  Trust me.

To my readers, if you read this book, what did you think of it?

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