Categories
Good People

Dance

Not long ago, I discovered Gurdeep Pandher and his merry dance videos. Mr. Pandher dances Bhangra, a traditional folk dance that originated in Punjab, India.

The videos are filmed in the Yukon, where Mr. Pandher lives. He dances outside, among the snow and wildlife and trees, highlighting the beauty of the area.

It’s impossible not to smile when watching the videos, not to want to join in and dance with him. They are full of hopeful energy, happy light and a cheerful spirit.

Each dance video includes a message of joy and positivity, dedicated to specific people, moments, or events. It’s his way of making a difference in the world, a heartfelt gift of delight and optimism.

Here’s to Gurdeep Pandher and the way he enthusiastically celebrates life. Sometimes, things are difficult. Not every day is a good one. But, he reminds me that there is almost always a reason to dance.

Categories
Good Nature

Beauty

It might end up being the only strawberry from this year’s backyard garden. Or else it could be the first of many.

Either way, it’s a beauty.

Here’s to early morning gifts and gardening achievements.

Categories
Good Nature People

Treasure

Yesterday, I came across a story about a woman, Flora Blathwayt, who collects bits of plastic trash from the banks of the River Thames and various beaches in England. She cleans the trash thoroughly and then adds it in creative ways to greeting cards that she’s designed. On the back of each card she creates, she lists the location where the plastic was found.

Ms. Blathwayt’s hobby has turned into a business, Washed Up Cards. Her business has sustained her, emotionally and financially, during a furlough from her job.

She’s not just using her skills and imagination to make money, however. She’s also bringing awareness to the issue of plastic waste in rivers and oceans. She’s supporting the sustainability movement and it, in turn, is supporting her.

To learn more about Washed Up Cards, you can visit her Etsy site at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/washedupcards/ .

Here’s to those, like Flora Blathwayt, who use their creative talents to turn trash into treasure. They help to make the world a better place, one small bit at a time.

Categories
Good Life

Something

For me, one of the hardest things to get used to during this pandemic is the uncertainty.

I’m one of those people who wants the news, even if it’s bad. I sometimes search out the spoilers before deciding whether to watch a show or movie. I feel a kinship with Harry, from the movie When Harry Met Sally, as I flip to the last page of a book and read the ending first.

“Not knowing” bothers me. I’ve thought about why this is, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because “knowing” is a component of decision-making, which is a component of action, and action is the best way (for me) to manage my feelings. From an emotional perspective, doing something is a coping mechanism; it keeps me from being overwhelmed or getting stuck in sentiment. From a practical perspective, doing something allows me to (hopefully) make a difference, even if only in a small way, even if only for a moment.

There’s been a lot of uncertainty, a lot of not knowing, in this pandemic. It is better in some ways now; we’ve learned more about the illness and are more capable of protecting ourselves. Some of the jobs that were lost or on hold are returning. Some of the challenges have become easier. We’ve made progress, but we aren’t completely out of the woods yet. The uncertainty still exists.

Which is why I was excited to volunteer at a local COVID-19 vaccination site yesterday. I have no medical training, so I directed traffic. In terms of “big picture” impact, it was not the most important task. Judging by the hundreds of cars making their way through the vaccination line, however, it was a needed and helpful chore.

As each car passed, I felt a little hiccup of delight. Each car represented one more number on the pandemic scorecard. Instead of it being a negative number, however, it was a positive step forward…and I was doing something to contribute. It was just a little something, only a minor something, but it was a thing I could do to help us all get to where we want and need to go.

Based on the smiles of people in the cars, and by the overall happy mood of the other volunteers at the site, my feelings weren’t unique. We each had our own specific reasons for being there, our own emotions and experiences that had brought us to that place at that time, but we had all chosen to be part of this hopeful process. We were driving away the uncertainty, together.

Here’s to the power of doing something.

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