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

Categories
Good People

Dolly

I’m a Dolly Parton fan.

I don’t actually know much of her music. The most popular tunes, yes, and I like them – especially Jolene. But I’m not familiar with much else.

I’ve seen two of her best-known movies many, many times. 9-5 influenced my perspective on corporate culture. Even though it was made decades ago, I still find little nuggets of business wisdom in it each time I watch. Doralee is a heckuva lot smarter than people give her credit for. Steel Magnolias? Always a good option when you want to curl up with a lovely, bittersweet story that has some really funny moments. The “laughter through tears” lines is one of Truvy’s best.

But – while I respect her musical talent and enjoy her acting, that’s not what I appreciate the most about her.

What I admire, what makes me a fan, is her authentic hopefulness. She radiates genuine positivity. She’s not blindly cheerful; she knows the difference between the good, the bad, and the ugly, and she’s not afraid to speak her mind. But she chooses to focus on constructive outcomes.

For example, her Imagination Library, which mails a book to children every month from birth to kindergarten. As an extension of this work, she recently started a weekly bedtime story video series, Goodnight With Dolly. If you’re finding it hard to sleep these days, I recommend tuning in. Her voice is sweet and comforting, and the books she reads are hopeful and kind. Even if you don’t have any young-uns in the house, I’m sure you’ll be welcome.

She’s also self-aware, emotionally intelligent. She knows who she is, her skills and talents, but also her flaws. She doesn’t hide who she is, and she knows that she’s not perfect. That type of sincerity is refreshing.

When acknowledging her flaws, she often uses humor. It’s not directed at others; she points it at herself, and there’s a kindness in her humor, an element of forgiveness. We laugh with her because we see ourselves in that moment. We share those same thoughts about our own flaws or the things we do, and we’re grateful for the chuckle instead of the judgment. Dolly’s laughing with us, not at us.

I just learned that Dolly released a new song, When Life Is Good Again. It’s intended to address the COVID-19 situation, but the underlying message of respect and love is universal. It’s a nice little something to go along with this morning’s cuppa, a reminder that goodness and kindness, trust and hope still exist; that caring about each other is an essential element in moving forward, and that each moment of doing so is worthwhile.

Categories
Good Life People

Taps

If you think about a U.S. military funeral, you probably think of Taps.

Taps originated as a bugle call to tell soldiers it was lights out, time to go to sleep. The 24-note Taps that we’re familiar with today originated from a Civil War bugle call called Extinguish Lights, which was a French tune. General Daniel Butterfield wanted something a little different, and so he and a brigade bugler, Oliver Wilcox Norton, revised it. Their version was made the official version after the Civil War.

This year, many of the traditional Memorial Day tributes have been cancelled. However, “Taps Across America” gives us a creative option to recognize those who’ve fallen in service to our country.

At 3:00 p.m. local time, you’re invited to sound Taps from your front yard, your balcony, your driveway – wherever you are. The idea is Steve Hartmann’s (of CBS Evening News). More details can be found at this link: https://www.cbsnews.com/amp/news/how-to-participate-in-steve-hartmans-taps-across-america/?fbclid=IwAR2nyvVVv2rAIor84_0Ivci21h96FLfV32-tQ0eIvUXy5z4GHaPvLfvhnCw

I don’t know how to play a bugle or a trumpet, so I won’t be able to sound Taps. However, I will step outside at 3:00 today and listen. Perhaps one of my neighbors will play. If not, I will still appreciate that moment, knowing that there are people elsewhere who are playing.

During that time, I’ll think about the meaning of those 24 notes. I’ll think about duty, and honor, and sacrifice. I’ll remember what today represents. And I’ll gratefully share in this collective spirit of thanks – of sincere, heartfelt respect and appreciation – for those who’ve given all.

Categories
Animals Good

Llemonade

It’s Friday; let’s start the weekend with a happy Llama story.

In southwest Wales, A Llama named Max is assisting in the delivery of food packages to people who are social distancing. The area has roads that can be difficult for trucks to travel on, and Max has turned out to be a helpful (and eco-friendly) solution.

The locals are delighted by the delivery experience. Max is enjoying the exercise and the attention. As the saying goes, lemons to lemonade. Or in this case, llemonade.

Here’s a cuppa of appreciation for you, Max. Carry on.

Categories
Animals Good

Dogs

The University of Pennsylvania recently started a program to train dogs to detect COVID-19 in humans. Similar programs are underway in other countries.

Dog noses have up to 300 million scent detectors (humans have around six million). These sensitive snouts allow them to sniff out volatile organic compounds created by certain cells.

Trainers hope that the first group of COVID-19 sniffing dogs will be ready to go to work by July. They can then help with detecting the virus in asymptomatic people, which may aid in efforts to minimize public exposure to the illness.

I’m sure those good doggos would appreciate some treats. I can’t give them one, but I can dedicate today’s cuppa to them. Here’s to the 1,000,000,000 reasons – and now one more – that dogs make the world a better place.

Categories
Animals Good

Hero

There’s a Llama named Winter who may end up being the hero we need.

Humans have one type of antibody. Llamas have two. One of those is smaller than human antibodies.

Scientists have had success using those smaller antibodies to fight against viruses such as MERS and SARS. They’ve seen similar results in COVID-19 cell cultures, using Winter’s antibodies.

Much more work is needed, but the scientists are moving toward clinical trials. The hope is that, although a permanent cure is unlikely, a vaccine could offer the ability to protect from infection for several months.

Even if Winter does end up being a hero, I doubt that she’ll ever have a building named after her, or be given a medal, or that we’ll celebrate an annual holiday in her honor. But I can certainly dedicate a cuppa to her today.

Categories
Good People

Giving

It’s Giving Tuesday Now day.

Today’s cuppa is a reminder that social distancing doesn’t have to mean emotional distancing.

If you have the means, there are thousands of organizations you can choose from to offer financial support.

If you’d rather donate time or other resources and are looking for an organization that needs your help, the lists and details may be useful in getting you started.

The main website link is https://now.givingtuesday.org

There’s also a website specifically dedicated to North Texas giving: https://www.northtexasgivingday.org

Here’s to generosity – of kindness, of compassion, of spirit, and hope, and grace, and love.