Categories
Good Nature

Planting

Where I live, there’s a month – six weeks, if we’re lucky – when most of the days have perfectly blue skies, and soft breezes that sweetly dance over blooming flowers and trees, and temperatures that hover between comfortable and just warm enough. That’s our Spring.

During that time, it’s easy to forget that Summer is Coming. And so, as my husband and I blissfully enjoy the temporary glory of the perfect weather, we plant.

This year, our backyard garden contains tomatoes, and cucumbers, and squash. There’s also the oregano from last year that survived the winter, and more basil to replace what didn’t. We’ve added kale, and mint, and strawberries, and we are excitedly watching a couple of leftover brussel sprout plants that we thought were goners but are now thriving, seemingly invigorated by our recent snowpocalypse.

I say “we” as though I’ve been actively part of the planting process. In truth, it’s been my husband’s work. My role is advisor, and admirer, and supporter. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I am the Garden Cheerleader, helping on occasion with the weeding and watering but careful not to overdo so as not to antagonize my allergies. Still, it is a partnership, a combined effort and project, one in which we both proudly share.

We are fortunate to have a backyard for our garden. It’s possible to grow vegetables in other locations, however, if you set things up in the right way. That’s the premise behind an organization called The Million Gardens Movement, which is “…dedicated to mobilizing a million people to grow their own food and reap the benefits of gardening.”

The Million Gardens Movement offers kits (Little Green Gardens) to people in need, making it possible for them to grow a small but significant garden almost anywhere – a windowsill, for example. A $10.00 donation provides a kit to one family. Additionally, The Million Gardens Movement provides guidance and education about gardening, supporting people everywhere as they grow their own food.

If you’d like to know more, check out their website: https://milliongardensmovement.org

Here’s to the gorgeous glory days of Spring and the hopeful inspiration that comes from planting for the future.

Categories
Good People

Leader

Anytime I think of great leaders – business or otherwise – Herb Kelleher is one of the first names that comes to mind.

In honor of his birthday today, here’s my interpretation of some of his most meaningful lessons.

Treat others as more important than yourself.

Tell the truth and trust that doing so will inspire the right kinds of action.

Trying something new can help you find solutions. It can also be a lot of fun.

A job title can tell you what a person gets paid to do. It shouldn’t be confused with who they are.

Business is full of serious decisions and hard work. Leave some room for laughter.

Herb passed away in 2019, but his legacy lives on. Here’s to a leader who showed us what “walking the walk” is all about.

Categories
Good People

Warmth

There’s an organization that makes and distributes coats to people experiencing homelessness. It’s called Empowerment Plan.

The coats were designed as part of a school project by a college student named Veronika Scott. When designing the coats, Veronika sought input from people who were homeless. The result is a weather-resistant garment made from upcycled material. Importantly, the coat can be easily converted into a sleeping bag. It can also be converted to a bag that can be carried over the shoulder.

Empowerment Plan doesn’t only provide warm and useful coats, however. Veronika realized that there was a need for more. And so, the Empowerment Plan program was developed to assist people in escaping homelessness.

Empowerment Plan coats are made by parents from homeless shelters in the Detroit, Michigan area. Approximately 60% of a program participant’s time is spent in paid coat production work, with the remaining 40% dedicated to educational, therapeutic, and other services addressing each participant’s individual circumstances. The goals are to assist participants in achieving financial stability and to prepare them for other employment opportunities once they complete the plan. According to Empowerment Plan, none of the participants have fallen back into homelessness after completing the program.

If you’re interested in learning more, the Empowerment Plan website is https://www.empowermentplan.org/about.

Here’s to warmth made possible through empathy, innovation, and human connection.

Categories
Animals Good

Pandas

What better way to start the week (and the month) than with Pandas playing in the snow?

Categories
Good Life People

Teachers

Every year on this date, I think about teachers.

There are countless examples of jobs that provide value to society – doctors and designers, lawyers and librarians, bakers and builders – just to name a few. Some are well-known and well-paid. Others, not so much. All contribute in some way to the intricate, delicately-balanced web that holds us all together in this world.

The foundational profession, however, is teaching.

The people who teach are the ones who help us do more than we did before. They help us be more than we used to be and build more than exists now. They help us imagine and evaluate and understand and create so that then everything else is possible.

So, here’s to the teachers. Thank you for seeing our potential, believing in us, and guiding us forward on the journey to tomorrow.

“I touch the future. I teach.” – Christa McAuliffe

Categories
Good People

Dolly 2.0

There’s a lot happening these days, deep, heavy, serious things, some good, some not. Things that are worthy of attention and consideration; things that carry long-term implications and demand careful focus.

In the midst of it all, today is Dolly Parton’s birthday.

I’ve written of my admiration of her before. Since then, I’ve learned that she’s done even more Good, even more Wow, by donating one million dollars to the research that ultimately led to the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine.

She did it on purpose, but she didn’t do it to get noticed or to be in charge. As she put it, “I just felt so proud to have been part of that little seed money that will hopefully grow into something great and help to heal this world.”

So, here’s to Dolly Parton. Happy Birthday to a real Wonder Woman.

“Find out who you are, and do it on purpose.” – Dolly Parton

Categories
Good Nature

Robin

I went outside this morning while I was waiting for the coffee to perk. In my yard, flitting about, were seven Red-breasted Robins.

There are numerous meanings and symbols associated with Red-breasted Robins. Generally, the stories and legends share a common theme: hope and renewal.

Whatever the reason might have been for these feathery visitors today, they were a treat to watch. Here’s to happy little moments in the sunrise.

Categories
Good People

Racing

2020 can be defined in a lot of ways. One way that I define it is as the Year of Racing.

Racing to keep the numbers under control. Racing to find a vaccine. Racing toward the election and then the ballot counts. Racing to figure out how to manage things remotely, work and school, social life and grocery shopping. Racing to plan for, to manage, to cope with the consequences of life turned upside down.

It often feels like there’s a need for urgency, even as we must wait patiently for results. And, we don’t always have control over the circumstances; we can’t always see the finish line. No wonder one of the most common feelings these days is exhaustion.

It’s refreshing when we have the opportunity to influence an outcome, to participate in ways that clearly and meaningfully inch us closer to success. Even if we know that “big picture” remains, even if we’re aware that our efforts won’t solve the entire problem or fix the whole situation, it is comforting – and important – to do what we can to create an impact.

Which leads me to the story of Orion Jean.

Orion is a ten-year-old boy who participated in a speech contest. The topic was National Kindness, and Orion was the first-place winner. With his $500.00 prize, he bought toys for a local children’s hospital, eventually leading to the creation of his broader effort, Race to Kindness.

Orion’s point of view is that every gesture of kindness, big or small, counts. Kindness can change a nation.

After his toy collection ended, Orion set his sights on a new goal: collecting 100k meals to distribute to people in need. He recognized that the number of people who are food insecure is rising, and this need is especially relevant right now.

The Race to 100k Meals deadline is November 25. If you’d like to know more about Orion, his vision, and ways to contribute, please check out his website: https://www.racetokindness.com

Here’s to Orion, who’s figured out that focusing on what we can do, what is possible and helpful even if it doesn’t fix everything, creates a positive change in perspective. Exhaustion turns to energy, and the finish line doesn’t seem quite as far away.

Categories
Good People

Nice

There’s a little girl named Ruby Kate Chitsey who, at the age of 11, started a non-profit organization called Three Wishes for Ruby’s Residents. She had the idea after noticing that many of the senior citizens at a local nursing home were unable to afford simple treats such as candy or even basic items such as a pair of pants.

Ruby Kate asked each of the people at the nursing home to make a list of three things they wanted most of all. She then set about raising money and filling the requests.

This simple act grew into a bigger movement, expanding to additional nursing homes, pulling in more people to gather and deliver. So far, the fulfilled wishes have included everything from a can of Vienna sausages to pillows and blankets, and the lists and gifting are ongoing.

Many of the people Ruby Kate assists have little to no family members who can supplement the nursing home care, and receiving a treat is a rare occasion. These kind gestures may not seem like much, but for somebody who has less than $50 per month to spend on anything outside of room, board, and medical care, it can mean a lot.

If you want to learn more about Ruby Kate’s work and how you can help, the link to the website is below:

https://3wishes.global

Right now, many residents of nursing homes are feeling even more isolated and distant than ever. The safety precautions so necessary to keep them healthy during the pandemic also prevent visits with family and friends as well as activities that might normally be part of their days. Loneliness is prevalent; depression, anxiety, and confusion often follow.

So, here’s to Ruby Kate, who began helping people long before COVID-19 and whose help is even more meaningful now. And here’s to all the other nice humans who help to make this world a better place.

Categories
Good People

Citizens

Sharing this beautiful story to celebrate today.

Here’s to a safe and happy July 4th.


https://www.cbsnews.com/news/drive-thru-ceremonies-for-new-american-citizens-amid-pandemic/?fbclid=IwAR3cqm3Kh7XCzBxaLqnOQi5sBeKePX_aHJAfhAx6HxFwZthLQmaG5j3pblQ