Posted in Awesome Stuff

Take a Little Trip

The news these days continues to be rough on the soul….thank goodness some people are still sharing the good stuff. Check out this story of some penguins at the aquarium in Chicago (do yourself a favor and click on the video links – they’re bloody delightful!):

After Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium was forced to close amid the coronavirus pandemic, staff decided to let a few waddling residents out of their enclosures for a field trip.

The aquarium shared videos on Twitter of three penguins checking out exhibits from the other side of the glass.

“Without guests in the building, caretakers are getting creative in how they provide enrichment to animals,” the aquarium said in a statement. “Introducing new experiences, activities, foods and more to keep them active, encourage them to explore, problem-solve and express natural behaviors.”

In one video, a rockhopper penguin named Wellington visits the aquarium’s Amazon Rising exhibit, which features creatures from the Amazon River basin, the largest river system and rainforest on Earth. At 30, Wellington is the oldest penguin at the aquarium and has lived there since it opened in 1991.

In another video, a pair of bonded rockhopper penguins named Edward and Annie waddle past a tank full of sharks and rays. Eventually, they wander all the way toward the information desk.

Some zoos which are closed due to coronavirus concerns have stayed connected with the public by livestreaming shows with popular animals like Fiona the hippo at The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. The El Paso Zoo’s “zoo cams” also let viewers sneak a peek at the daily life of meerkats, sea lions, giraffes, orangutans and more.

Meanwhile, other animals like Hector, a Patagonian mara at the Fort Worth Zoo, have also stepped out for some fresh air while the zoo is closed. Hector got to meet three excited otters during his trek Benji, Hudson and Makita.

Shedd, which will remain closed until March 29, invited the public to follow along digitally as Edward and Annie begin to build their nests next week.

“And yes, Wellington will return!” the aquarium tweeted.

This is the kind of stuff I’m living for at the moment – how about you? Hope you’re doing okay, and that you have all the TP you could possibly need. 😊

Xxx

PS: Happy St Patrick’s Day! 🍀 Lets celebrate with the Muppets:

Posted in Awesome Stuff

Follow the Leader

This week has been a real ripper, eh? It’s like end of days shit everywhere you go – things are shutting down, we are all figuring out how to continue doing our jobs remotely…and focusing on how to keep ourselves and our families safe (while trying to scare up enough toilet paper to wipe our asses). However, out of the mist of doom that has swamped our media coverage this week (a low point for me was hearing the news that Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson had tested positive – it’s like we can’t have nice things) comes this gem of a story – check it out:

This young man is 19 years old, and possesses a most beautiful, thoughtful heart – it’s incredible. Most young people his age wouldn’t think to do something so kind – his family must be so proud. He gives me hope for the future. 🌟

Stay safe, friends. ♥️

Xxx

Posted in Awesome Stuff

Fear Me

I have been a massive sufferer of FOMO for most of my life – and it has caused some serious damage to me, physically, emotionally, and financially. When I was young, the thought that everyone was out doing something fun and I wasn’t drove me nuts – I didn’t know how to be comfortable and happy with what I was doing. In my adult life, I struggled with the notion of ‘keeping up with the Jones’ BS’…and I’m sure I will be paying off that credit card debt for many moons to come. My fear of missing out on things caused me to live beyond my means, to stretch myself when I shouldn’t have…and likely made me a very annoying, and pathetic, person to be around. Argh. So much time wasted. Thankfully, I seem to be overcoming all of it – but what a ride it has been. The tips offered in this article are VERY useful – hopefully they will help you, too. Who cares what others are doing in their lives? Focusing on your own should be pleasure enough. 😊



Why FOMO is Addictive and How to Overcome It by Jade Nyx

What is FOMO?
The official definition of FOMO is:
Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.
But I don’t need to tell you what the definition is, you have all experienced how it feels when your friends are on social media doing something and you aren’t. Missing out on all those jokes, adventures and plans. Feeling excluded.
We have all felt the gnawing anxiety of FOMO as it ruins our once happy moods with envy and sadness. Even if we got invited. Even if we turned down going to this event simply because we didn’t want to. Even if we couldn’t think of anything worse to be doing. FOMO does not discriminate. FOMO worms it’s way into your mindset and sets of that anxiety that makes you breathe just a little faster.

Why Do We Fear Missing Out?
Simply, because we are humans. We are social creatures and most importantly, pack animals. To be socially included is a survival instinct.
If we were rejected by our pack, we were left out to the elements to die so it is biologically programmed into us to want to be included and be a part of the pack.
Since the days of being a cave humans, our societies have drastically progressed since then. Social rejection doesn’t mean death anymore, it is more death to the ego than actual death. But since the rise of Social Media, our primal FOMO has resurfaced because all the things we could be doing to be included are shoved in our face 24/7.
Life isn’t one long party, in between the parties and fun adventures, there is mundane, routine life! And while our routine, mundane life can be wonderful, we still get insecure that our life isn’t perceived as interesting and that is thanks to Social Media.
How FOMO Affects Our Lives
40 years ago, FOMO wasn’t that much a problem because long distance communication wasn’t great. Instead of having 500 hundred friends, we have a few friends that were nearby and if they were doing something, we had no idea and therefore, were not triggered to feel FOMO. Unless someone rubbed it in your face that you weren’t there, then we felt left out.
But now, social media dominates our lives with everyone’s exciting highlights reel bombarding our minds. We always make the assumption that everyone else’s life is so much fuller and more exciting than our own.
Information Overload
Thanks to advancing technology, we are subjected to huge amounts of information constantly and it is too much for our brain.
We can’t tell what person has done what, it all kind of blurs into one and that one person is everyone. Everyone is doing all this cool stuff, all the time, 24/7 and you aren’t. All this information is emotionally and mentally overwhelming us and it is exhausting.
FOMO is a cyclic compulsion that we can’t quit. We are addicted to distraction, using social media as a mental break, in doing so making ourselves feel bad from FOMO and so we scroll more.
We are addicted to social media and we are not good at practicing good social media health.
As much as I would like to blame social media giants for creating platforms that are designed to be addictive, we are the ones that open the app, scroll and feed the addiction everyday. We are the ones that don’t unfollow bad channels, bad people and negativity.
In real life, if someone doesn’t bring you happiness and joy, you avoid them and you avoid all communication with them. But you still have them as a facebook friend, you have unfollowed them in real life but not in your virtual life which is in many ways worse.
So what is the result of this overwhelming information and lack of proper social media care?
Your mental health is in tatters. FOMO has a detrimental effect on our mental health, causing mood swings, loneliness, feelings of inferiority, reduced self-esteem, anxiety and depression.

Overwhelm
You see all these things happening around you and you feel overwhelmed by the huge amount of things going on without you.
There are so many avenues to go down and you don’t have the time, energy or resources to all of these things. Even if we did one of them, there will always be 10,000 more things that other people are doing and we feel insignificant.
Fear
Specifically, fear of exclusion. You feel excluded and therefore afraid on a base level, like if you missed out on this one thing, you will be excluded forever and therefore, fear for your survival in a social group.
Self Hate
We feel uninteresting, boring and average. Fearing that we will be perceived as boring if we don’t attend all the social events, even if we didn’t want to go.
We instinctively care about what people think of us and we use this information to bully ourselves. Making us anxious and depressed, which in turn, makes us anxious at social events so we can’t have fun.
Being Set in a Comparison Mindset
The comparison mindset is a cancer that ruins your life.
We love to compare ourselves to others to work out where we are on the scale of success, because we love succeeding and progressing. It is in our nature. But the comparison mindset only leads to self hate because we are finding reasons we aren’t succeeding and we bully ourselves about it.
Don’t compare yourself to anyone because you aren’t comparable in any form. No one has walked your life, not even an identical twin and no one has what you have. Instead of bullying yourself for your lacks, focus on your blessings and express gratitude for it.

How to Overcome FOMO
FOMO kills happiness. Comparison is the thief of joy and as we compare our lives to those on social media, even though we cannot be compared because our lives are so beautifully different. So what can we do to overcome it?
1. Know That Social Media Isn’t Reality
Understand that social media isn’t reality, there are so many posts of happy cheerful faces doing something cool and being included. But it doesn’t tell the story of the person who is smiling through gritted teeth because really, they didn’t want to be there.
2. Embrace JOMO
JOMO is the Joy In Missing Out<https://www.lifehack.org/633908/the-fear-of-missing-out-has-been-around-forever-even-without-social-media>. When you feel the tugs of comparison and fear, just remind yourself of your worth and take a moment to show gratitude to what you are doing right now.
What you are doing right now is someone else’s dream. Practice gratitude<https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/40-simple-ways-practice-gratitude.html> and remind yourself that just because something else is happening without you, doesn’t mean they you aren’t important.
3. Reassurance
Reassuring yourself that just because something is happening doesn’t mean that your worth is affected in anyway.
FOMO is caused by a instinctual fear for survival. The best way to deal with a fear is to reassure yourself that you are safe and you are physically, emotionally and mentally are safe. You are still interesting, important and full of worth.
4. Ask Yourself, “Did You Really Want to Be There?”
Seriously, did you really want to be there? I know the travel FOMO when someone is on a warm beach in living Bali with the beautiful yoga poses and you feel the FOMO. But ask yourself, do you really want that life? It isn’t as great as instagram makes it seem.
Also, we get FOMO from parties and events that if we were there, we would hate. We often just want to be seen doing something so we feel cool so people will think we are interesting, which leads to.
5. Try Not to Care What People Think of You
This one isn’t so easily done but it shouldn’t matter what people think of you. You shouldn’t spend your life trying to get favorable opinions from people who wouldn’t turn up to your funeral.
6. See the Larger Picture
We sit there and torture ourselves on all the things that we are missing out on. The reality is, in your entire life, this one thing that is making you feel the FOMO is a grain of sand in the ocean. In less than 24 hours, it won’t matter to you at all, so don’t let it ruin your day because in your whole life, it is nothing.
7. Make More Plans
If you feel FOMO because you feel like you aren’t doing much with your life, go and do something. You are the master of your life.
If you feel like you are being left out, go to more events with people. Alternatively, if you are an introvert like me, try a class, learn a new skill, book a flight, go on a walk, cut your hair. Go do things while you still can! Life is short so fill it with adventure!
8. Self-Care
Check in with your emotions more and take better care of yourself. Take time each day to sit and watch the rain with a cup of tea or meditate, nap, go for a short walk. Spend some time not connected to the internet so your brain has a moment to play catch up and rest.
9. Clear up Your Social Media
Get rid of anything that makes you feel sad, down or depressed on social media. Make sure your social media is a place of positivity and happiness.
The benefit of social Clear up Your Social Media media is you can unfollow people but not unfriend them. In this way, you can stop listening to their opinions all day without hurting their feelings.
10. Be Excited for Other People
If you see someone who is on holiday and you feel the FOMO, you don’t have to unfollow them or throw shade. Be happy for them.
Be grateful for where you are right now and the adventures you have had. Be happy for all these people who are living amazing fun lives and know that it has nothing to do with you.
Final Thoughts
FOMO is a mindset that makes us feel anxious, depressed and most commonly, boring and uninteresting. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
FOMO is only going to get more and more difficult as more of our lives go online, so I hope these techniques can help you overcome FOMO more easily.

Good advice, eh? I know! I hope it helps you – enjoy your day, friends!

Xxx

Posted in Awesome Stuff

How Much is that Doggie in the Window?

If this doesn’t make your day, I’m not sure what will:

Nice IKEA Store Opens Its Doors To Protect Stray Dogs From The Cold

Staff at this IKEA store in Catania, Italy, have gone above and beyond merely selling furnishing to fill a house — they’ve begun providing a home to pups who need it most. 

And the reception from customers couldn’t be warmer.

Martine Taccia was on a shopping trip to the retail giant on a chilly autumn day recently when she was surprised to discover a group of dogs nestled cozily among a living room display. 

“My reaction was pure amazement,” Taccia told The Dodo. “It’s not a common thing.”

But, as it turns out, the dogs were local strays — and that little taste of home was actually a gift.

Taccia came to learn that the store had decided to open its doors to homeless pups in the area to give them refuge from the elements. And the welcome came with more than just a safe place to stay. 

“The dogs receive daily food and pampering from IKEA’s employees and customers,” Taccia said. “Some dogs have even found a family, going home with customers.” 

Though it does not appear that IKEA’s Catania location publicly advertises this policy of letting in needy pups, it’s certainly made a positive impression on guests like Taccia. Another customer, Beppe Liotta, was likewise smitten with the store’s dog-friendly initiative.  

“I felt a feeling of deep tenderness and great happiness in seeing dogs crouched in the exhibition space at the entrance of the IKEA,” Liotta told The Dodo.

As a self-proclaimed animal lover, Liotta hopes other businesses will follow suit by opening their doors (and their hearts) to animals whose sad circumstances are all too often overlooked. 

“If all the stores that had the space would make a place of refuge for strays, I would be really happy,” he said. 

And Liotta’s certainly not alone.

Isn’t that beautiful????? SO proud of IKEA for this one!!!! Pups make everything better. ♥️🐶

Xxx

Posted in Awesome Stuff

Smile

I saw this article this morning, and it made my day – we all need to try some of these things:

50 ways to be ridiculously generous — and feel ridiculously good.

I realized — many years ago — that when I behave generously, I feel rich. And I like to feel rich. So I choose to be generous.

But “behaving generously” doesn’t necessarily mean “donating money” or “giving away your last cookie.”

You can share knowledge freely, instead of hoarding it. You can send a hand-written note, instead of a text message. You can make eye contact, instead of checking out. You can make a life-changing introduction for a friend, instead of letting them “connect the dots” on their own. 

You can do big things. Small things. Simple things. All kinds of things.

You will never run out of ideas. You will never run out of love. You will only create more. 

What would happen if …

You said “thank you” 50 different ways, to 50 different people, every day, for the next 50 days? 

The possibilities are beyond imagining, but one thing’s for certain: 

You’re about to become everybody’s favorite person.

Starting today, join me in 50 days of ridiculous, shocking generosity.

You don’t need to “prepare.” 

You don’t have to “buy anything.” 

You don’t need to “give it some thought.” 

You don’t have to “clear space on your calendar.”

You just need to fold generosity into your day, in little ways, every day.

Here are 50 prompts and possibilities to inspire you.

(It’s going to feel so good.)

Day 1: Compliment three strangers: a child, someone your own age, and an elder. Congratulate them on something highly-specific — “Way to rock that tricycle, kiddo!” — or simply say: “You look lovely today.”

Day 2: Find a Little Free Library near you and donate a book. Can’t find one? Start one. 

Day 3: That public radio station or podcast you’ve been streaming for months — or years? Become a member. Don’t put it off. And while you’re at it? Send a gushing, praise-filled email to the production team. 

Day 4: Find a blogger who’s been slammed with mean comments lately. Send them a love note. Tell them to keep writing.

Day 5: Choose a local show — improv! stand-up comedy! storyslam! indie rock! — and bring a MASS AVALANCHE of friends. Scream. Cheer. Make the hardworking, little-thanked performers feel like superstars.

Day 6: Choose a struggling (or not so struggling) artist and publicly thank them on Twitter, Insta, or somewhere else on the Internet. “I love your work. Please keep going.”

Day 7: Choose a big-name celebrity that you admire and write them a genuine, heartfelt letter of thanks. Just to say, “Your work really moves me and I appreciate what you do.” No “request” or “ask” or “gimme” attached.

Day 8: Offer to take a photo of a sweet couple in love. When you email it to them, send along a GiftBit gift certificate, too — for a bottle of wine, or a couple of coffees. 

Day 9: See a bicycle with a basket parked on the street? Put flowers in it.

Day 10: Sponsor a local yoga class. Buy up 10 or 20 spots, and give them away to strangers. Or neighbors. Yoga for everybody!

Day 11: Tell a teenager: “You are so brilliant. I can’t wait to see who you become. And I love who you are, right now.”

Day 12: Tell your mom (or someone who feels like your mom): “You raised me right. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from you? This: _______________.”

Day 13: Tell your dad (or someone who feels like your dad): “You’ve given me so many gifts. Like the ability to _______________, and the confidence to _______________. Thank you.”

Day 14: Be like Diane von Furstenberg and start your day by sending out one email specifically designed to help somebody else — without directly benefiting you at all — before you do anything else. Make introductions, send some encouragement, offer a helpful resource or link. 

Day 15: Prowl through your closet and donate some treasures to Dress For Success — or its equivalent in your country. You’ll de-clutter your wardrobe and help a struggling lady look like a star at her next job interview.

Day 16: Put away your smartphone and close down your inbox for a day (or just an hour). Give the world the gift of your undivided, non-digital attention.

Day 17: Experiment with Tonglen meditation: inhale suffering (yours and others), exhale compassion (for the whole world). 

Day 18: Tip generously. Not sure how much? This is how much. Except double it.

Day 19: Record a Vocaroo message for someone you’ve been meaning to thank for awhile. Tell them: “Keep this audio note and replay it whenever you’re doubting your awesomeness.”

Day 20: Buy a meal for a stranger and start a magical chain reaction.

Day 21: Do somebody else’s laundry. Ask for nothing in return. 

Day 22: Turn a photo from your smartphone into a real postcard. Send it.

Day 23: Give someone a grrrrreat massage. Here’s how.

Day 24: Get outlandishly excited about a small piece of good news from a friend. (“You did WHAT? Just like THAT? You’re AMAZING!”) Model the kind of unbridled enthusiasm that you want to see in the world. 

Day 25: Overwhelmed with things to read? Instead of cancelling your newspaper or magazine subscriptions, donate them to a local school for a few months (like this) till you’re ready to start receiving them again. Or not.

Day 26: Riding the bus? Waiting in line? Strike up a fascinating conversation with somebody who looks bored, sad or checked out. Start by simply asking: “What was the BEST part of your day?”

Day 27: Applying for a job? Trying to woo a client? Or even just make a friend? Send them something useful and astonishingly generous … before asking for anything. (It will change your world.)

Day 28: Create a generous “auto-responder” (sometimes called an “out of office” message or “vacation auto reply” message) for your email … full of links, resources, fun videos, answers to commonly asked questions, maybe a complimentary gift, or whatever else you want to include. This is such an easy way to offer people something inspiring, entertaining, helpful (or all of the above!) automatically. They can enjoy the cool stuff … while they await your reply. (Want to see some creative examples? Check this out.) 

Day 29: Buy a massage for a veteran of war. (Just call a local massage therapist, make a payment, and then contact your local veteran’s health administration and pass along the details.) 

Day 30: Call up a friend who’s been having a rough time — or just an agonizingly busy week. Say: “Let me vacuum for you.” (They might weep.)

Day 31: Make a mixtape of uplifting, positive, soul-affirming tunes. Label it: “Listen to this when you need to remember who you are.” Leave the CD (or several copies) in a local coffeeshop. 

Day 32: Send a story tip to a local reporter. (Especially if it’s good news.)

Day 33: Leave a wrapped gift on top of your trashcan with a note for your friendly neighborhood waste disposal professional. They deal with unspeakable filth, every week, all for YOU.

Day 34: Brew up a big pot of (good) coffee. Fill up some eco-friendly disposable cups. Offer free java to everyone at work — or the bus stop. 

Day 35: Buy an Amazon gift for a total stranger. (Search wishlists here.)

Day 36: Four words: gourmet ice cream delivery.

Day 37: Choose a friend. Any friend. Grab a notebook. (Or … this book.) Fill the book with love notes and compliments written by you, and other people, too. Give it to your friend, and tell them it’s a High School Yearbook for the Soul.

Day 38: Make an 8Tracks or Spotify playlist for your favorite human. Extra credit: give your playlist a special “reason” or “theme,” like, “Listen to this while you’re getting ready for your first date with Zach!” or, “Pump-yourself-up music to play before you deliver your TEDx Talk. You’re going to do GREAT.”

Day 39: Leave a platter of treats in the common area of your office or apartment building. Extra credit: a handwritten card with an inspirational quote and a list of ingredients (for folks who are plagued with allergies).

Day 40: Pray for someone. Or if you don’t pray: send love.

Day 41: Nominate a talented friend for an award. Like The Bloggies. Or The Webbies. Or The Stevies. Or … any other award in your city, state, country, etc. You could also make up an imaginary award (“Best Dog Walker of the Century”) and present it to someone you love.

Day 42: Help somebody land their dream job. Proof a friend’s resume. Rock out a mock interview. Loan them your lucky blazer. Tell them: “You’ve got this.”

Day 43: Volunteer to mentor an aspiring entrepreneur through your local SCORE chapter. (You don’t have to be an “expert” or know “everything.” You just have to know a few things … more than they do.)

Day 45: Leave a rave review on the iTunes page of your favorite podcast. Gush. Five stars. Bravo!

Day 46: Arrange a luxurious gift for a public school teacher. A concert pass. A nice bottle of wine. God, they need some love. 

Day 47: Drag a friend — kicking and screaming — on stage to read a poem, do karaoke or tell a joke. Roar and cheer for them. Show them it’s safe to be visible — to be seen.

Day 48: Ask someone, “How was your day — really?” Let that person talk about themselves, past the point of comfort. Lean in. Stay there. Be present. Let ’em ramble. Give it that extra five minutes. 

Day 49: Send a pizza to your best friend’s office. Lunch = sorted. Surprise!

Day 50: Be ridiculous and shocking and start this 50-day cycle of generosity … all over again. Just because you can.

Great ideas, eh? I know!!!! I LOVE these, and can’t wait to try some out!! Woohoo!!!

Xxx

Posted in Awesome Stuff

Hero

I’m not the biggest NBA basketball fan, but I certainly know what’s going on in the world o’hoops (see how hip I am? I said ‘hoops’!). I celebrated with the rest of the Canadians last spring when the Raptors won the Championship, and during that historic run for the title, I kinda fell in love with a Raptors superfan. No, not Drake – shame on you for thinking that I could have anything but disdain for a dude who I will forever know as Jimmy on Degrassi who somehow completely reinvented himself (and his Canadian accent) to become some hot shot in music…speaking of which, every song of his sounds the same, and they usually sound nasally and whiny to me, so…there’s that. Anyway, my aside about my meh feelings towards Drake is over. Sorry. On to the real superfan that I’m digging – it’s none other than Nav Bhatia! If you don’t know his story, here’s the scoop (told through a great series of tweets written by Muhammad Lila):

Isn’t that awesome? This past weekend, the Basketball Hall of Fame honored him as a superfan, and he is now part of the Hall of Fame. How gorgeous is that?!!?!??! I love it!!!! ♥️♥️♥️ So deserving!!! I love it when good things happen to good people – it doesn’t happen enough these days.

Xxx

Posted in Awesome Stuff

Only the Best Will Do

I love people who do small things with great love – they are the ones who will (and do!) change our world. Check out this story of a young man who wanted to make a difference to his community – kids like him give me so much hope for the future:

Click on the image to visit the full story!

You may have heard of celebrities or multibillion-dollar companies donating money to cover students’ lunch debt. But Keoni Ching from Vancouver, Washington, is just your normal 8-year-old who wanted to help his schoolmates. 

With his handmade key chains that go for $5 each, Keoni raised $4,015 to erase the lunch debt of students from his school and six others. 
It all started because Keoni wanted to do something special for “Kindness Week” at his school, Benjamin Franklin Elementary. With his mother, April, and father, Barry, by his side, Keoni thought about projects that would truly reflect kindness. 
Keoni was ultimately inspired by San Francisco 49ers player Richard Sherman. The cornerback, who previously played for the Seattle Seahawks, donated more than $27,000 to cover students’ lunch debt. Keoni, for the record, is a Miami Dolphins fan, he said. 
Keoni said he decided to make key chains because, “I love key chains. They look good on my backpack.” 
Once word of Keoni’s key chains and his heartwarming cause got out, people from all over the country started sending in their requests for one of the custom key chains. 
“We have sent key chains to Alaska, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Arizona, all over the country,” April Ching told CNN. “There was one lady who said she wanted $100 worth of key chains so that she could just hand them out to people. … There were several people who bought one key chain and gave (Keoni) a hundred bucks. It was absolutely amazing how much support the community showed for his whole project.” 
With the help of not only his parents, but also his grandparents, Keoni made and sold more than 300 key chains. 
Keoni's key chains go for $5 each. He has sold over 300 key chains. Keoni’s key chains go for $5 each. He has sold over 300 key chains. 

Keoni delivered the $4,015 check to Franklin Elementary last week. Of that amount, $1,000 will go to the school to pay off the $500 lunch debt and for any future debt incurred. The rest will go to six other nearby schools, which will get $500 each to clear their own lunch debts. 
“Lunches here are about $2. But if you have two or three kids and for whatever reason, you’ve missed (paying for) a week of lunch or breakfasts, that adds up pretty quickly,” Franklin Elementary’s Principal Woody Howard said. “This type of a gift takes a little bit of pressure off of your family.” 
Keoni has raised over $4,000 to erase his school's lunch debt. Keoni has raised over $4,000 to erase his school’s lunch debt. 

School lunch debt is an increasing problem in the US. In the 2017-2018 school year, 75% of school districts reporting to the School Nutrition Association had unpaid student meal debt. The median amount of unpaid meal debt per district has risen by 70% since the 2012-2013 school year, according to SNA.
Stories of children being lunch shamed grabbed the nation’s attention last year. A boy from Ohio had his lunch taken away on his birthday because of an unpaid balance. A school in Rhode Island said it would serve only sun butter and jelly sandwiches to kids with lunch debt. 
The outrage surrounding these stories prompted many states to pass laws that ban the action of denying a hot meal to students with unpaid lunch balances. 
Keoni doesn’t know much about the politics of America’s lunch debt problem, but one thing he knows is this: 
Helping others is important because “it just makes the world a better place,” Keoni said.

Isn’t this beautiful? His parents ought to be SO proud – they’re raising a legend. LOVE this! Kindness really does matter – have a happy day, friends! ♥️

Xxx

Posted in Awesome Stuff

Puppy Love

This is the kind of news I like to wake up to:

Click image to link to article!

This beautiful man chose to celebrate winning the Super Bowl by paying adoption fees for all of the adoptable dogs at the KC Pet Project animal shelter in Kansas City – AMAZING!!!!!! 🐶🐶🐶

More days need to start with news stories like this! ♥️

Xxx

Posted in Awesome Stuff

Know Yourself

A few years ago, I did some side work as a Virtual Assistant. I had a few clients that I worked with, and while I ultimately decided that this type of work wasn’t for me (actually, the truth was that the type of clients I was working with weren’t for me), I learned SO much – about myself, and what I’m willing to put up with.

One of my clients wanted to pay me for four hours of work per week, yet wanted me to answer phone calls and set up appointments for him 8:00am – 5:00pm, Monday – Friday. That seems slightly more than four hours, don’t you think? I asked if he wanted to increase my hours – no. I asked if there was a way we could work something out so that I would have clients leave quick messages and call them back throughout the time that I was scheduled to work? Nope. As well, that four hours had to include a once a week, mandatory (in his eyes), video call meeting with me, the content of which was usually him berating me because I wasn’t as available as he wanted me to be. At first, I was trying to give his business more than the agreed upon four hours, but…then I realized I was devaluing myself and working for free, so…enough of that. After about four months, we moved on – he contacted the placement company and said that working with me had shown him that he needed full-time, in-office assistance, so…I was out. On to the next client.

I really liked the next client I worked for, and let me tell you, I did WAY more than our agreed upon tasks/hours. WAY more. I really respected the service that she was trying to provide – she was a life coach for women, and her work came from a good place. I found that she was very particular and fussy about things, but her business was about her, so I got it. She was very focused on developing her brand and empowering the women that she worked with – and I could really get on board with that. After a time, however, I found that she was focusing more on promotion of herself instead of actively helping the women she was working with – which I struggled with. However, it wasn’t my place, so I kept quiet, and waded through the reams of hippie/spirit/juju language that came from her (whenever she wrote even the simplest Facebook status update, it would take you 10+ minutes to read as it was SO long, and was all about every emotion she’d ever felt, all of the sacred things that were happening and whether or not they were in alignment, the conscious parenting and intentional grief people felt, holding space for feelings, reflecting on her thoughts and feelings CONSTANTLY – apparently I’m too damn pragmatic to worry about holding in anything apart from farts, and I don’t feel the need to share every thought I’ve ever had with everyone I know on Facebook!). Anyway, things were trucking along until after four months in (I’m seeing a pattern here, are you?), she informed me that due to lack of clients and finance issues, she could no longer afford me. I felt badly about that because I liked helping her clients – so badly, in fact, that I offered to keep working for her for a couple of months FOR FREE to finish the projects I had on the go with a couple of her clients. She said no. So, there’s that. I’m not sure why – perhaps I was getting too good at helping the clients?

The third client worked in real estate, and wanted to develop a lucrative online training business for other people desiring to be real estate agents – she wanted to be Marie Forleo if real estate. For realz, every day, she wanted EVERYTHING to be Marie Forleo – her website had to have a font once used by Marie, it had to feel like Marie’s site…everything. Obsessed with Forleo. The thing was that the content she was peddling in her online class was a whole metric shit ton of words that said very little. It was shocking to me – there was no content there. She made the mistake of asking me for my opinion, which I gave her – I let her know that the content was lacking, and shared with her loads of ideas on how we could beef that up and make the product better….no dice. She decided she didn’t want to work with me after 2 months. Fun fact – I’ve since looked at her online course, and guess what? She’s incorporated 99.9% of the ideas that I sent her way – huh.

My final client worked in the athletics industry, and he needed a lot of assistance. I edited a book for him (which has since been published, no editing credit to me) – actually, I rewrote the book for him as he struggled with literacy A LOT. I rewrote a large number of policy documents for him, and mass-produced contracts for his various speaking engagements. Our problem was that he was terrible (TERRIBLE) at communicating, and expected me to read his wants using my psychic powers. In the end, we decided to part ways as my crystal ball wasn’t working, and that was that.

The Virtual Assistant experience taught me quite a few things – first and foremost, placement agencies will often offer clients a 3 month reduced rate to reel them in, charging them the full amount in the 4th month…which, coincidentally, was when my clients decided they didn’t want to work with me. I didn’t know this at first, so I took the rejection BLOODY hard, but…now that I understand the way it works, I’ve no hard feelings. Business is business.

Second – I love VA work! I would love to do this type of thing all the time! Working from home/remotely is wonderful, and I loved learning new skills (I’m looking at you, InfusionSoft!). My already good multitasking skills have reached Olympic quality, thanks to taking this challenge on – and I made some moolah to supplement my meager Education income. Bonus!

I also learned that there are a lot of snake oil salesmen in this world, and I don’t have it in me to hock (hawk?) products to vulnerable populations and charge them A LOT of money for it. Salesmen blood does NOT run through my veins! Instead, I would like to create some great online products, and sell them at a very reasonable price, making the process affordable – and helpful – to the masses, not the elite few. I also will never use language like making space, and giving myself permission…if I want to do shit, I do it. Perhaps I give myself permission, but it’s internal, and I certainly don’t feel the need to share it. The oversharing and never-ending language drives me nuts. The world does not need to know every single feeling you’ve ever felt since the dawn of time – it’s okay to leave some stuff out. Be mysterious! Live a little!

Prior to working with my hippie client, I was toying with the idea of becoming a certified Life Coach – not because I believe I have life all figured out (hahahahahahahahahaha), but instead because I thought that I could apply the techniques and strategies that I would learn to help me figure it out and improve the quality of my life. I still think this is a great idea, and something I should look in to. The thing is that I don’t want to be her kind of Life Coach – that approach is way too much. I’m not that kind of person. I think I would be a different breed of Life Coach, one that tells it like it is and cuts straight through the bullshit with a very sharp knife – and actually helps people. I haven’t made a decision on this one yet, but I think I should pull a Nike and Just Do It. 😉

The media had a story this week that the peak age for the dreaded midlife crisis is 47.2 years of age. Huh. I’m not THAT far off from that figure, and I’m wondering if so much of what is going on with me these days is part of it? Am I in the early stages of the midlife crisis? Where’s the Harley Davidson? Where’s the sports car?? Why is my midlife crisis manifesting itself in deep self-analysis, career changes, and a sudden interest in being a wellness practitioner (when I’m nowhere near the picture of health??!)???? Argh!!!! 

Life has some ‘splaining to do. 😉

xxx