Great Stories

I LOVE a great story. You can never share enough of the ‘good stuff’ that puts a little positive perspective out there. I hope you enjoy this story as much as I did.

 

New+York+New+Jersey+Continue+Recover+Superstorm+bZDA4KrliNJlIf you missed the May Oprah magazine, you missed a great story I want to share by Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat Pray Love). Enjoy.

Some years ago, I was stuck on a crosstown bus in New York City during rush hour. Traffic was barely moving. The bus was filled with cold, tired people who were deeply irritated–with one another; with the rainy, sleety weather; with the world itself. Two men barked at each other about a shove that might or might not have been intentional. A pregnant woman got on, and nobody offered her a seat. Rage was in the air; no mercy would be found here.

But as the bus approached Seventh Avenue, the driver got on the intercom. “Folks,” he said, “I know you’ve had a rough day and you’re frustrated. I can’t do anything about the weather or traffic, but here’s what I can do. As each one of you gets off the bus. I will reach out my hand to you. As you walk by, drop your troubles into the palm of my hand, okay? Don’t take your problems home to your families tonight–just leave ’em with me. My route goes right by the Hudson River, and when I drive by there later, I’ll open the window and throw your troubles in the water. Sound good?”

It was as if a spell had lifted. Everyone burst out laughing. Faces gleamed with surprised delight. People who’d been pretending for the past hour not to notice each other’s existence were suddenly grinning at each other like, is this guy serious?

Oh, he was serious.

At the next stop–just as promised–the driver reached out his had, palm up and waited. One by one, all the exiting commuters placed their hand just above his and mimed the gesture of dropping something into his palm. Some people laughed as they did this, some teared up–but everyone did it. The driver repeated the same lovely ritual at the next stop too. And the next. All the way to the river.

We live in a hard world, my friends. Sometimes it’s extra difficult to be a human being. SOmetimes you have a bad day. SOmetimes you have a bad day theta lasts for several years. You struggle and fall. You lose jobs, money, friends, faith and love. You witness horrible events unfolding in the news, and you become fearful and withdrawn. There are times when everything seems cloaked in darkness. You long for the light but don’t know where to find it.

But what if you are the light? What if you’re the very agent of illumination that a dark situation begs for?

That’s what this bus driver taught me–that anyone can be the light, at any moment. This guy wasn’t some big power player. He wasn’t a spiritual leader. He wasn’t some media-savvy leader. He was a bus driver–one of society’s most invisible workers. But he possessed real power, and he used it beautifully for our benefit.

When life feels especially grim, or when I feel particularly powerless in the face of the world’s troubles, I think of this man and ask myself, What can I do, right now, to be the light? Of course, I can’t personally end all wars, or solve global warming, or transform vexing people into entirely different creatures. I definitely can’t control traffic. But I do have some influence on everyone I brush up against, even if we never speak or learn each other’s name. How we behave matters because within human society everything is contagious–sadness and anger, yes, but also patience and generosity. Which means we all have more influence than we realize.

No matter who you are, or where you are, or how mundane or tough your situation may seem, I believe you can illuminate your world. In fact, I believe this is the only way the world will ever be illuminated–one bright act of grace at a time, all the way to the river.

-taken from Oprah, May 2016 by Elizabeth Gilbert

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Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day 2013 Kayaking the Loxahatchee River

Earth Day is this week, so I wanted to share some great things you can do and know to help make a positive impact on our world. Yeah!

DID YOU KNOW?

Styrofoam takes 50-100 to begin to break up in the environment! Yikes. That is a long time. Make sure you think twice about buying this cheap stuff because it is really hard on our planet.

It takes 400-500 years to begin to break down water bottles, so make sure you recycle them. It takes 100-200 years for aluminum or tin cans.

Make sure you recycle glass bottles because it takes even longer for them to break down. They are like a manmade stone that never goes away. They have not even been able to determine how long it takes.

Did you know fishing line is one of the worst things we can leave behind. Fishing line not only takes 600 years to begin to break down, but many animals get injured by swallowing the line or getting tangled in it.

-learned about these things at a Las Vegas aquarium

 

A FEW LITTLE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP THE WORLD

Turn off your lights when you are not using them.

Turn off the water while you brush your teeth.

Take a shower instead of a bath.

Turn off electronics when you are not using them.

Plant a tree.

Ride your bike or walk.

Do not litter. Help clean up litter in a park or beach.

Create a wild habitat by building a bird house.

Shop online equals less energy use and fewer carbon dioxide emissions from your car.

Telecommute or Carpool.

Throw away less food by planning weekly meals.

Take your leftover meal home from the restaurant. Don’t waste it.

Don’t be afraid to buy something used. When you buy a shirt that is gently used you are reducing your carbon footprint on the planet.

Buy a water bottle and reuse it.

When purchasing new appliances look for the Energy Star label.

Park a little further from the store and walk.

EVERY little change will add up to make a BIGGER difference in our planet. It can start today with YOU and one little step in a proactive direction. So please, turn off the water while brushing your teeth, don’t buy styrofoam, clean up your parks and beaches & remove any fishing line…little steps to big changes. Thanks.  -H

 

You can also go see Disney Nature’s Newest Film that comes out on Earth Day. It looks amazing. Check out the trailer. Disney usually donates some of the money if you go see it within the first week it is released.

 

 

 

 

Bucket List Life

DadBudJumpThis weekend my daughter and I headed to Moab to watch my Dad experience skydiving for the first time. The entire family (5 kids and all their kids–13 grand kids–minus my brother) met in Moab to see the event live in honor of his 70th birthday! It was such a grand occasion we had to be escorted to the airplane hanger because our group was, “the biggest they had ever had.”  The kids had bubble wands to entertain them while they were waiting for the big jump, so we looked like we were having a party. There was a group of four other people waiting to watch their friends jump & they literally asked us if we were on a field trip or something. We all laughed out loud and explained the big party.

PapaKidsLife is too short and my Dad had wanted to jump his entire life, so we all pitched in to make it a weekend he would never forget. Truly, a weekend none of us will ever forget. Life is about occasions, those special events that make the memories that stay with us forever. None of us will ever forget watching the kids making bubbles that were covering the airplane runway and flying wildly into onlookers. It was magical and lol funny. The adults laughed as we watched our children list off the items they would get if Papa didn’t make it. Yikes!! They were yelling, “his arrowhead collection, his cheese, his car…” they were laughing and being so silly. They made up a special bubble wand salute they gave him as Papa landed and joined the group. A memory all of them will remember.    We all screamed and yelled and cheered as we watched their parachutes come in for the incredible landing. One of my sisters almost had a panic attack, a kind stranger was getting the whole group on video, and we all stood there in awe of their safe arrival and then laughed as our Papa was thrown to the ground by his chute and just laid there, almost as if he were so glad to touch the ground. My brother jumped with him, so the most priceless moment for me was seeing them embrace after their jump.

I did not know that my brother 15 years ago had talked to my Dad about going skydiving together one day. This weekend was that day. Checked off their bucket lists!! How AWESOME.

 

funride

Another side story to bucket lists and how life is too short to wait to do the things your heart desires—last summer we had a dear family friend (40 years old) wake up and have a stroke that affected half of her body. She had to learn to walk again, and was in rehab for months and months. She still does not have full mobility back. It was a wake up call to me that life is too short. I had always wanted a convertible car. I always watched people drive around with the wind hitting their face, the wide open top to enjoy the sky, the sun, the beautiful world all around them. When she had her stroke we were in the process of looking for a new car. I told my husband, “life is too short. I want to get a convertible.” I wanted the memories of being together as a family driving up the canyon, going on trips with the top down, I wanted my one daughter to have special memories with me made in our convertible.  This weekend my daughter and I drove to Moab and enjoyed the Arches and Dead Horse Point parks while driving with the top down. We will both always cherish the moments of her filming from the top and getting all of the panoramic pictures her heart desired while we drove. I will always cherish watching her drift off to sleep with the wind whipping her hair and the sun shining down on us. Priceless.

What would you put on your life bucket list? What would you do? What can you do? What do you want to do? Here are some ideas that I have collected from all over the internet to get you thinking…there are a ton of links you can google, but here were some of my favorites. Some good questions to get you started (taken from personal excellence.co) What would you do if you had unlimited time, money and resources? What have you always wanted to do but have not done yet? What if you were to die tomorrow? What would you wish you could do before you die? What activities or skills do you want to learn or try out? What are the most important things you can ever do? What experiences do you want to have? Any countries, places or locations you want to visit?  Bucket List ideas I would like to do (taken from daringtolivefully.com): Learn a language, achieve your ideal weight, travel, visit the Grand Canyon, Stay at an ice hotel (at least see one), fly in a hot air balloon over the Loire Valley in France(vineyards, 800 castles and manors, 200 miles SW of Paris), Swim with Manatees, sea turtle or dolphins, do the scorpion yoga pose, hike the Appalachian trail, learn archery, play the harp, get something published, learn something new each day, have a romantic picnic, learn to meditate, ride a segway, have chocolate and cheese fondue, (the following are taken from bucketlistjourney.net) dog sled, just walked a suspension bridge, feed exotic animal (elephant, koala, bear, etc), ride a horse on a beach, sell a piece of my art, enter art in an exhibit, sell something from a blog, go to a drive-in movie, make a house of cards, make something with origami, learn to cook something new, host a cookie exchange, learn to really use chopsticks & make an asian dinner, be a tourist in my own town (see something new), learn to paddle board, rock climb, win something, ask my spouse 50 questions, Say thank you and hello in five different languages, learn to fence, Sleep in a treehouse, put a love padlock somewhere in Utah or NV(makelovelocks.com), see Walden Pond, see the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Washington, learn more about the amazing beach art of Andres Amador, visit Fiji, Stay in a grass hut, see the Eiffel Tower, attend the hot air balloon fest in Albuquerque NM, be flexible enough to do the splits, see the beautiful, white buildings of Greece, drive the coast in Italy, visit Tuscany, gondola in Venice…to be continued. That is all for now. I hope these ideas get you thinking of things you want to do.

Happy planning!! -H

Life Lessons

I have been driving my daughter and her two friends to school each morning and found it to be a great time to share some daily life lessons. These girls are thirteen, at a pivotal age where everything and everyone around them is defining who they are becoming, who they are listening to and who they will follow. I figured this was a perfect opportunity to share with them good things every morning to start their day.

I figured maybe some of you may enjoy a few daily life lessons you could share with those you love–enjoy! I am going to put a few at a time and then post them, so take what you like and share them while you are driving your kids to games or dance lessons or share them around the dinner table or bed time. Good things are always good for the whole family. The whole world! Enjoy and share the inspiration.

gratefulGET GRATEFUL: This morning I shared with them a video clip of a girl who got cancer when she was nine & had to have her leg amputated, but what they did with part of her leg was inspired. Check it out.  

I also shared with them the story line of the movie, “Miracles from Heaven” which shared the story of a ten year old who got really sick from her lower intestines becoming paralyzed and how hard it must have been for her to not be able to eat real food. She had to be tube fed (through a tube down her nose) or supplemental pills.

I then shared with them how my niece (age 12) had just been to the dentist and was told she had 4 teeth that were like that of an 80 year old person and she would need to anticipate them falling out.

The Life Lesson: get grateful that you have a healthy body that can eat, that can run, walk, dance, rock climb, jump, and is capable of anything. We often take that for granted and waste our time, sit on our butts and don’t get outside and walk or take a bike ride or try something new. We take for granted our healthy bodies. I challenged them to remember that next time they were complaining of going on a walk or not wanting to do something active. They need to get grateful and get going!

 

scientific-discoveries-that-happened-by-accident-1918108322-apr-12-2014-1-600x500EVERYONE HAS A CHOICE:  Life Lesson–You don’t have to do anything…you don’t have to be happy, you don’t have to be sad. It is a beautiful freedom to feel, be, do, say and become anything we want. We have a choice every day to decide the direction we want to go in–positive or negative. We decide how we react to any situation and we decide what we learn from every situation. We have a choice every single moment of our lives.

Velcro Story Swiss amateur mountaineer George de Mestral loved the outdoors and his daily walks with his dog. What he didn’t love was the burdock seeds that clung to his wool pants and his dog’s fur. He found the burs incredibly annoying until the day he wondered why they stuck.  By profession, George de Mestral was an engineer and inventor. He examined one of the burdock seeds under a microscope and was astonished by what he saw. The bur consisted of hundreds of tiny hooks that grabbed into the loops of thread in the material of his pants. This fool-proof, nature-made fastener became the inspiration for Mestral’s 1948 invention Velcro®.

Velcro® sales were somewhat slow the first couple of years, but Mestral never gave up and concentrated on tweaking his product to perfection. By 1955, over sixty million yards of Velcro® sold in that year alone making the inventor a very wealthy man.

So besides sharing with you this fascinating little piece of history, what’s the point? Attitude is the point, and the importance of having a good one. A person’s attitude toward their circumstances, toward their relationships, toward themselves, toward the planet, toward everything and everyone they come into contact with shapes their world and in turn, hands them their next set of circumstances and relationships. If a person’s attitude is negative, they will experience the circumstance or relationship as negative. In short, they will see nothing but “weeds.”

If a person’s attitude is positive and they are willing to look for the positive within every circumstance and relationship no matter what, then they will make Velcro® out of the weeds.

Adopt a Velcro® attitude about life and “stick” to it!  Copyright Mary M. Bauer.

 

A MATTER OF ATTITUDE: 

Edison-Fire_Shrunk_1Thomas Edison’s laboratory was virtually destroyed by a fire in December, 1914. Although the damage exceeded $2 million, the buildings were insured for only $238,000 because they were made of concrete and thought to be fireproof. Much of Edison’s life’s work went up in spectacular flames that December night. At the height of the fire, Edison’s 24-year-old son, Charles, frantically searched for his father among the smoke and debris. He finally found him, calmly watching the scene, his face glowing in the reflection, his white hair blowing in the wind.

“My heart ached for him,” said Charles. “He was 67–no longer a young man–and everything was going up in flames. When he saw me, he shouted, ‘Charles, where’s your mother? When I tolld him I didn’t know, he said ‘Find her. Bring her here. She will never see anything like this again as long as she lives.”

The next morning, Edison looked at the ruins and said, “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.”

*taken from Chicken Soup for the Soul 3

Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same. -francesca reigler

Life Lesson: No matter how bad things may seem or how hard life may get, your attitude makes all the difference. Thomas did not focus on all he had lost, he found great value in beginning again. It was how he chose to look at the disaster.

Well, continue to look for my posts called, ‘life lessons’ and enjoy the tidbits, the stories, the life lessons that inspire us daily.

Enjoy your day!!  -H