Category: Observations about Life


Better late than never, right?  Welcome to your weekly dose of good news.

Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Photo Credit: Doree Weller

When no one showed up for her autistic son’s birthday party, Mom posted on Facebook.  Strangers showed up bearing cards and gifts, along with the Osceola Sheriff’s Department.  I’m really glad that this story had a happy ending.  Kindness goes a long way.

When a bus driver loses consciousness while driving, kids react, stopping the bus, calling 911, and starting chest compressions on the driver. 

A man who was living in his car in Colorado Springs spent time helping push other people’s stuck cars out of the snow.  When the news caught him in action, strangers offered to put him up in a hotel and started a GoFundMe page for him.  That’s what it’s all about: people helping people.

You may not recognize the name John Unger, but almost everyone will recognize the picture of him helping his elderly, arthritic dog to float in the water.  Shoep (the dog in the photo) died in 2013, but the photo is still viral, making its way around the internet.  Dog lovers will rejoice as this sweet man has adopted a new friend who will no doubt get amazing loving care.

Photographer captures people from 1 to 100, showing their dreams.  The photographs are in Russia, but the people could just as easily be living next door to us.  Take a few minutes to look at the photos, as they’re lovely.  You were just going to spend that time looking at LolCats anyway, weren’t you?

As you go into the weekend, here’s a thought:

“Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true.”

~Robert Brault

We only have one another in this world, so be kind to someone today.

A sign at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego CA

A sign at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego CA

I saw a video this morning that really touched me, and I wanted to share it.  Since I missed posting something for Motivational Monday yesterday, you get a bonus Tuesday post.

You’re welcome.

I don’t know if this video is going to make you feel bad or good.  Pranksters in New York staged a homeless kid on the street with just a garbage bag, freezing in 5 degree weather.  He was there for 2 hours, and the first person to talk to him and then give him a jacket was another homeless man.  At the end of the video, they show this quote:

“If you wait until you can do everything for everybody, instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up not doing anything for anybody.”
-Malcolm Bane

Helping can be overwhelming; I get it.  But you can do one thing for somebody.  And maybe what you do is little.  Maybe it doesn’t seem like a big deal.  But maybe the person you helped will help someone else and so on.  Giving one freezing kid a jacket doesn’t mean you have to get all of them jackets.  It just means that you chose to help that one, in that time.

I used to give to the Salvation Army bell ringers at Christmas.  When I was a teenager, I ended up spending a lot of money, putting dollar bills in all the buckets.  At some point, I realized it was too much, and I stopped giving any money for a lot of years.  These days, I have a set amount I give, and I put it into the bucket.  Sure, I still feel a little guilty walking past and giving nothing, but I still smile and nod at the bell ringers.  They don’t need to know how much money I’ve put in the buckets in other places, and just because I’m not putting money in that bucket doesn’t mean I shouldn’t acknowledge them like a human being.

What I’m trying to say is that helping can be overwhelming.  Sometimes it seems thankless.  Sometimes it seems like one person can’t possibly make a difference.  Don’t look at the bigger picture though.  If that kid had been freezing on the street for real, he would have been grateful to the person who helped him.  One person, one human connection.  That’s all it takes.

Phoenix Zoo Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Phoenix Zoo
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Please come back, nice day!! Photo credit: Doree Weller

Please come back, nice day!!
Photo credit: Doree Weller

Dear Texas,

I wanted to talk to you about our relationship.  When I agreed to leave Arizona for you, you were hot.  Not as hot as Arizona, but your other assets made me think that it would be okay.  At first, things were really good, but then you started running warm and cold.  Last Saturday, we were outside together all day, and it was beautiful.  Just a few days later though, you were so cold to me that I didn’t want to go outside.  You really made me feel like you didn’t want me around.

Meanwhile, Arizona is as predictable as ever.  Yes, I’ve continued seeing Arizona, but you have to understand, we have a history together.  Just because I visit doesn’t mean I don’t want our relationship to work.  I do, but you have to work with me here.  If I only knew what to expect, if you weren’t so moody, I’d feel better.

I mean, it’s not like you’re Pennsylvania.  That is one cold beotch right there.

I’m not saying you have to be hot all the time.  I love you even when you let yourself go a little over the winter.  The grass needs a trim and the leaves are mostly gone on the trees.  I’m okay with that; I gained a few pounds over the holidays.  Just… I’d like to know where I stand.

Is that too much to ask?

Love,

Doree

Why is it that whenever I say I don’t watch the news, whoever I’m talking to feels the need to update me on current events?  I have a purpose in not watching the news; I believe in putting my attention on what I want to see more of, which is why I share good news.

Welcome to Feel Good Friday, where I share positive news stories.

"Get off the computer and pet me!" Photo Credit: Doree Weller

“Get off the computer and pet me!”
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

109 year old man, the oldest man in Australia, knits sweaters to help injured penguins.  Click the link.  You have to see the pictures of the penguins in their sweaters.  You’ll say “awwwww!”

A woman gets to hear her deceased son’s heart in a woman’s chest 20 years later.  The mother donated her son’s organs, and when the recipient contacted her to thank her, it was an emotional moment for both of them.  The mother said she feels like she’s gained a daughter.  Sometimes, beautiful things come from loss.

Teenage boy tells mom to pull over so he can shovel an elderly man’s driveway.  The teen said that when he saw the man in the walker struggling, he knew he had to help him.  He said in the article that anyone would have done the same thing… but I don’t think so.  I’m glad he did though.

7-year-old boy wears a superhero cape as he passes out food and water to homeless people in Detroit.  He says it makes him feel good to help others.  Other community organizations, like the Boy Scouts, have gotten involved.  It just shows that one person can make a difference.

Soul Pancake has couples (and one pair of strangers) look into one another’s eyes for 4 minutes to see what happens.  An experiment has previously showed that it increases the level of intimacy people experience.  I can’t sum up the results, so take a look at the video.  It’s interesting, and may make you think about your own relationships.

That’s it for this week’s Feel Good Friday.  Help me be the change.  If you liked one of these articles or like what I’m doing here, let me know in the comments.

I’m Just Me

I’m the person who talks out loud during movies (not in the movie theater… just at home.  A lot).  I’m also the person who talks to Facebook, and all my friends, even when they can’t hear me.  Maybe especially when they can’t hear me.

I saw this on a friend’s Facebook page the other day:

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I wanted to yell, “No! No!  NO!  What do you mean that’s your WORST fear?  Please, stop.”

But I didn’t.  I didn’t even respond to it, because I know a lot of people feel that way.  They become afraid of showing their imperfections because someone might not love them if they show those imperfections.  Then, what happens is we all end up being the walking wounded.  We imagine that others are somehow better at life than we are.

I have to tell you a secret.  Ready?

None of us are perfect.

And you know what?

That’s okay.

Yes, she's judging you.  Orange cats do that. Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Yes, she’s judging you. Orange cats do that.
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Imperfections are what make us wonderful.  They’re what make us unique and interesting.  If you were perfect, how would you ever strive to be better?  And if you had nothing to strive for, what would be the point of doing anything?  If you were just perfect all the time, there would be no goals.  You wouldn’t need any emotions because you could be happy all the time.  Where would love songs come from?  Or those songs that make your soul ache?  Or pretty much anything by The Cure?  Where would creativity come from?

Maybe I’m missing the point.  It’s just that I think perfect is overrated.  I also happen to think it’s impossible, but I’m not one to let reality get in the way of my goals, so I certainly won’t shoot yours down by calling “reality check.”

It’s easy to believe that others are somehow doing a better job at life than I am.  It’s easy to go on Facebook or Pinterest or watch TV or look at magazines and figure that others have it all together.  Or at least more together.  But when I worked in crisis, I went into people’s homes, and the one thing I found out is that no matter how together people look, we all have secrets.  And most people believe they’re failing at something.

So, instead of holding yourself to someone else’s standard, how about you work on being the best you that you can be today?  In order to be the best you, you have to stop comparing yourself to others.  You’re just you.  I’m just me.

And that’s perfectly okay.

Be Here Now

On Motivational Mondays, I post something to set the tone for the week.

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”

-Leo Buscaglia

Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Remember, worry doesn’t change what’s going to happen in the future.  If you can’t change it, try not to worry about it.  If you feel your thought drifting into worry, change your mental channel.  It’s not easy, but if you stay on top of it, you can worry less.

Have a wonderful week!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

You know, I always thought Valentine’s Day was kind of a stupid holiday.  We already have an awesome holiday that has candy (Halloween), but V-Day lacks blood and scary things.  It’s all hearts and creepy babies with bows and arrows.

Who thought, "I know; let's give the baby a weapon!"??

Who thought, “I know; let’s give the baby a weapon!”??

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve mellowed a bit.  I’m not against Valentine’s Day anymore.  It’s just not really my thing.  I’m not going to go crazy with it, but I’ll wear a red shirt (if I own one… do I own one?), and if my one true love buys me something, that’s nice.

I used to hate Valentine’s Day because of the obvious commercial aspect of it.  If you need a day to tell someone you love them, then that’s just dumb.

However, I realize from my older and slightly wiser (ahem) point of view that having a day to remind you to tell people you love them is never a bad thing.  We can all use the reminder to love one another, and to spread love.  So, even though Valentine’s Day is a commercialized holiday where the stores try to guilt you into buying something (if you don’t send her roses, Cthulhu will eat your soul!!), it doesn’t have to be.

You don’t have to buy roses or go out for that fancy dinner (unless she’s expecting it, in which case, don’t blame me if you drop the ball).  Valentine’s Day can be about an expression of love.  It can be meaningful, taking time out to tell everyone who matters how much they matter.

Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Photo Credit: Doree Weller

So, no matter how you celebrate today, make sure you tell someone you care about them.  After all, what’s more important than that?

TGI Friday, right?  Start your morning off right and take a look at these articles.

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A Texas police officer responded to a call about an “aggressive” pit bull, and instead of jumping to conclusions, he saw that the dog was friendly, and got it to a shelter, where it was then reunited with its owner.  The story isn’t over.  That same police officer was called again about the same dog.  This time though, the owner didn’t want him back, so the officer decided that he was meant to adopt the dog, and he did.

 Green graffiti.  This is a how to tutorial (and has some cool pictures) about how to graffiti up your home or fence using moss.

Inspirational stories of forgiveness.  These are 10 very brief stories (1 paragraph each) about people who chose to forgive in the worst of situations.

Pittsburgh police detective adopts boys after getting them out of an abusive foster home.  This is a nice video, about 2 minutes long telling the story of how he met and adopted the boys.

A teenager invents a device to help injured vets.  The device assists physical therapists with exercising the vets and speeding their recovery.

Go forth and be kind today.

On Wellness Wednesdays, I post about a wellness topic.

“Be happy for this moment… This moment is your life.”

-Omar Khayyam

Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix AZ Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix AZ
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

What does “finding yourself” mean?  Does it mean you’re lost?  Displaced?  Out of touch?

I think that people sometimes use this as shorthand for “finding out who I am.”

We focus on “finding,” as if there’s something hidden or lost.  As if there’s an answer.

But the happiest people I know, know that there isn’t anything hidden.  There’s no “secret.”  That’s the secret: that there is no secret.  There’s no one path to happiness.  In fact, happiness isn’t a goal or a destination; it’s not the ends to your means. It is the means.  It is the path.

What I mean by that is that sometimes I think we do things just to find an answer.  People go to church for an answer.  We go to school so we can “be” something or somebody.  We make money so we can buy stuff so we can “be happy.”

The fact is that as long as we chase happiness, we’ll never get it.  People who make more money spend more money.  The wise man doesn’t have answers; he has questions.  Work is not usually the most satisfying source of identity.  Most of us want to be seen for who we are, but the problem is that many people don’t know.

When you introduce yourself, most of us give our name and what work we do.  But though interesting, that’s not nearly the most interesting thing about me.  When my friends think of me, I’ll bet the first thing that comes to mind is how often I read.  They come to me for recommendations on books, quotes relevant to their lives or what they’re going through.  I write and like to talk about topics that don’t seem to have anything to do with anything.

I’m loyal and kind, sarcastic and irritable, superstitious and logical, contradictory and secure with my contradictions.

But I can’t be summed up by my qualities, and neither can you.  I’m never bored and don’t understand people who are.  I love drinking up a moment.  The other day, we went to see Blade Runner and then went hiking in the woods.  I enjoyed the loud, dark theater with the gritty tech-noir movie as much as I enjoyed the play of light and dogs splashing in the water.

The secret to happiness is to be happy now, today.  There’s no “when” or “if.”  Maybe life wasn’t what you wanted it to be, and maybe it’s not the way it’s supposed to be.  Maybe it sucks.  When people are unhappy, they often want to prove it and justify it.  They list the reasons why they’re unhappy, which usually have something to do with family, job, relationship (or lack thereof).

You can spend time justifying why you’re unhappy, but why would you want to do that?  I believe you, that you’re justified in your unhappiness.  You don’t have to prove it to me!  But is that where you want to live?  Is that where you want to stay stuck?

We can’t change what’s happened to you or how other people treat you.  If you want to be happy, start looking for reasons to be happy.  Reasons to be happy are like seeds.  Sometimes they don’t look like much, but if you water them and give them sunlight, even a little bit, they’ll grow.  Sometimes what they grow into can surprise you.

“They tried to bury us.  They didn’t know we were seeds.”

-Mexican Proverb

If you believe you have reasons to be unhappy, you probably do.  But we all have stories.  There’s no use in comparing the stories, because the worst thing to happen to me is the worst thing for me.  Your worst thing might be different, but it’s still the worst thing for you.  Saying “what happened to me isn’t as bad as what happened to him or her” isn’t useful because you’re only living your life.  I think it’s useless to compare your successes to others.  Just be the best you that you can be.  So why would you compare your sadness to the sadness of another?  It’s yours.  Personal.

Stop making excuses for why you can’t be happy.  Stop focusing on the things that make you unhappy.  If you want to be happy, feed what it is that makes you happy.  Read.  Hike.  Draw.  Walk the dog.  Pet the cat.  Volunteer.  Go to concerts or comedy shows.  Sing in the shower.  Or the car.  Or in your backyard… who cares what the neighbors think?

Instead of finding yourself, find what makes you happy.  Everything else will work itself out.

 

Think Positively

On Motivational Mondays, I post something to set the tone for the week.

“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.”
-Dale Carnegie

Austin, TX Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Austin, TX
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

If you think about what you don’t have, what others have done to you, or how unhappy you are, then you’ll remain stuck and unhappy.  Focus your thoughts on something positive, like a goal or a memory.  Just don’t put off happiness until you reach your goal.  That’s a happiness trap.  Be happy here, today.

Happy Monday, people!

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