Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


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Good News Tuesday for August 31, 2021: Teachers Make a Difference, Airbnb Helping Refugees, Rescued from the Bayou, and an Edible Coffee Cup

Seeking Balance One Tuesday at a Time

Teachers Make a Difference

I’ve been thinking a lot about teachers as in person school starts back in the US. Teachers have a lot to deal with. Today, I’m highlighting two examples (there are many) of teachers doing good work.

Erin Castillo became famous two years ago with her mental health check in chart for students. This year, she’s added an Affirmation Station where students can recognized other students strengths and good works. Erin also encouarages teachers to set a good example by taking care of themselves and showing kids that it’s okay to take a breath and ask for help. You can read more about Erin Castillo in this article from Good Morning America.

Kristen Driemeier and Heather Steighorst, two fourth grade teachers from Missouri, have implemented a simple but great idea for students who might be struggling. They sent a note home encouraging parents to text them, “Handle with Care.” This story also comes from Good Morning America. Thanks GMA for recongizing teachers.

Thank you to all teachers everywhere.

Airbnb to Provide Temporary Housing to Afghan Refugees

Airbnb says it will provide housing to 20,000 Afghan refugees for free.  The housing will be funded through contributions to Airbnb.org and CEO Brian Chesky. Here’s more from NPR.

Rescued from the Bayou

Bryson Byrd of New Orleans was out on a food run when he saw a crowd of people looking at the water. It turns out an elderly man had driven his truck into the bayou. Bryson jumped in and pulled the man out of the water. Here’s more of the story from nola.com/news.

Edible Coffee Cup

A Scottish company called BioBite, makes an edible coffee cupt. It’s a 100-calorie vegan biscuit made with wafer and will stay leak-proof for 12 hours and crunchy for a full 45 minutes. I think they’d be great for smoothies, too. Here’s more from the Good News Network and a short video.

Got good news?

Please share your good news stories and links in the comments!


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SoCS: My Not So Wee Accident

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “wee.” Use the word “wee” or find a word that contains it and use it in your post. Have fun!

I wish I could say I had a wee accident, but that would not be true. I wish I had been able to say, “wee!” as I drove my car into the picnic table, but I was more like, OMG or WTF in a sort of out of body experience. People rushed to see if I was okay. I assured them that I was. Embarrassment and disbelief were my worst injuries.

I remembered pulling into the rest area parking lot on my way to the mountains. I’d stopped about two hours earlier for lunch and stretching and only had two more hours to go in the six hour trip. I remebered looking for a shady parking space, picking one out, turing into it and my car ran over the curb into the sturdy metal rest area picnic table.

Now I know there’s a name for what happened: Pedal confusion. It can happen to anyone, but it happens more in old people. I’m sure being tired was a factor. I stepped on the gas instead of the brake. I still find it hard to believe and embarrassing. It also happens more in confinded areas like parking lots. I’ve actually done this twice before over the years though not recently until two weeks ago. Both previous times, I was pulling into a parking space, but didn’t do any damage as I was able to correct my mistake quick enough. And there were no picnic tables. One person I lamented to said she rear ended someone by stepping on the gas by mistake. I’m glad no one was hurt.

People were very helpful. They called the police, EMS, and even a fire truck just to be safe. In spite of my assurances, EMS checked me out and everything was normal by then. There was a police officer who was very helpful. He said he could get a tow truck faster than AAA’s estimate of 45 minutes. The tow truck arrived in about 20 minutes and the police officer took me (in the cramped back of his police car) to the car rental place and made sure I would get a rental before he left. Maybe it was because I was a older ? woman driving alone. Maybe it was my father’s Bible in the car door pocket. Maybe he’s just a good cop and it was a slow day.

So anyways, I managed to have a good swim in the pool the next day and kayaked on the lake with the goal to stop thinking about the accident (after I had read at least three articles about pedal confusion.) I managed to drive the rental car back home without incident. My messed up car is still 4 hours away and needs a LOT of work. My husband says, that’s why we have insurance. He encouraged me to “get back on the horse.”

Eventually, I’ll have to go back and get my car which makes me nervous. I don’t enjoy driving anymore and talk to myself saying: “My foot is on the break. The break is in the middle.” I stay on the brake as much as possible in parking lots. Once in the parking space, I put on the parking brake. When I move my foot to the gas, I go slow and say, “Easy does it.” It makes me nervous just to write about it.

Deep breath. Another deep breath. Maybe some day, I’ll get my confidence back about driving. But I don’t want to drive long distances if I can help it. I’d rather sit here on the couch and watch TV while petting my cat.

I had prayed for safety and mindfulness at the beginning of the trip. Well, at least I was safe, because I was not hurt. Just my pride. Yeah, so I get more humilty. Okay. I am thankful.

To wrap things up, what does make me go “Wee!” in a fun way? Like swinging high in a swing. I’m not so much of a “wee” person. Maybe the ocean on a day when the waves aren’t too rough and they tickle me with foam. I wouldn’t mind swinging on a rope swing over a lake and jumping in, as long as I know the water is deep. Maybe riding a horse would do it. It’s been a while.

What would make you say, Wee?

Oh, swining a grandbaby on a swing. That would do it!

My granddaughter’s not a baby anymore.

Be safe and be mindful.

Update: Trying to wake up this morning, I stumbled upon this Ted Talk which made me realize my practice of mindful driving has become not so kind and a little bit shaming. So I was thankful for the idea of kind attention Shauna Shapiro shares in this video.

For more streams of consciousness, rules, etc. visit Linda Hill at:

https://lindaghill.com/2021/08/06/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-aug-7-2021/


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Good News Tuesday for July 6, 2021: Wales Takes a Big Step, Nurse Stops Hospital Fire in India, Florida Creates Wildlife Corridor, and Valedictorian Speaks his Truth on Acceptance, Mental Health, and Identity


Seeking Balance One Tuesday at a Time

Wales Puts a Hold on New Road Building

As part of their plan to reach zero emissions by 2050, the Welsh government is putting a hold on new road building. They’re not saying they will never build roads again, but for now, no new roads.

“We need a shift away from spending money on projects that encourage more people to drive, and spend more money on maintaining our roads and investing in real alternatives that give people a meaningful choice.” Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for climate change. For details, see this article from The Guardian found in my Goodnewsletter.

Nurse in India Saves 36 Babies from Hosptial Fire

P Jayakumar, a nurse and father of two, put out an electrical fire at a public hospital in India saving 36 babies. After stopping the fire, Jayakumar, who has asthma, was hospitalized in the ICU for five days for smoke inhalation before going home. Here’s the story from The New Indian Express

Florida Creates Protected Wildlife Corridor

The governor of Florida recently signed bipartisan legislation to create one of the biggest wildlife corridors in the developed world with $400 million of initial funding. The act will help protect many species, including endangered Florida panthers. Here’s more from the Good News Network.

Valedictorian Bryce Dershem Finishes his Speech

(I first heard this story on Sunday when the priest at my church shared it in his sermon about different kinds of power.)

In spite of spending six months of his senior year in treatment for anorexia, Bryce Dershem graduated as class valedictorian of his New Jersey high school. Multiple videos and articles indicate that Bryce’s high school principal took a hard line in telling the valedictorian he could not say anything in his speech about his LGBTQ status or his mental health treatment. At the graduation ceremony, when Bryce started to speak his truth, the principal disconnected his microphone and took away Bryce’s printed speech notes. Students yelled, “Let him finish!” The good news is that someone brought him another mic and Bryce finished his speech from memory. He talked about overcoming challenges and accepting yourself. I was impressed by Bryce’s courage and composure.

Here’s an interview with Bryce from NBC News followed by a video of his speech.

Here’s the speech:

Got good news?

Feel free to share your good news or GNT link in the comments!


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SoCS: A Sigh of Relief with a Side of Laughter

Today’s SoCS prompt is: “contains ‘igh.’” Find a word that contains the letters “igh” in that order and use it in your post. Enjoy!

The first thing that came to mind was, sigh. It’s a word that sometimes had a negative connotation, as in an expression of sadness, but it can be much more… healing even, as in a sigh of relief.

There was a sigh of relief when the house was quiet after my beloved grandchild was taken home by her parents. We had loads of fun going to the beach and the aquarium, watching the movie, Bumblebee, who is a VW Beatle who transforms into and autobot with a heart. Still, I am thankful that women have been designed, evolved, or whatever to not be able to have babies after a certain age. I can do a lot in bursts of energy, but my stamina is nothing like it used to be.

What else gives us a sigh of relief? I was writing in the family history about my dad retiring from 20 years in the corps. I bet there was a big sigh with that. And my own retirement after 30 years in the addiction/mental health field. How do I spell relief? RETIREMENT.

I will be relieved when the fire works are over. But how can you really be sure? Fireworks can be beautiful, and I love sparklers, but I worry about all the dogs who shiver in the corner or “escape” in terror and become lost. Then there are the veterans and others with PTSD. I’m sure some of them don’t mind fireworks, but I wonder how many? And people with autism being overstimulated. There is such a thing as silent/quiet fireworks. They’ve been used in other countries. If you an put a man on the moon, you can make quiet fireworks.

In yoga, we are sometimes encouraged to sigh with vocals, to take a deep breath and say, Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh on the exhale. The body hears that release and the relief is enhanced. That’s the theory anyway. I’m trying it now. Seems nice.

Sometimes a sigh is just a sigh, like a kiss is just a kiss. The fundamental things apply as time goes by.

But sometimes, a sigh is a good thing. I sigh when I get a massage. It helps me be mindful and really enjoy the release instead of thinking about my grocery list or some irrelevant imagining.

In most cases, a sigh is better than a scream. What might be even better is starting with a sigh and letting it turn into a laugh, then back into a sigh. Try it!

What brings you a sigh of relief?

There are all kinds of YouTube videos about yoga and sighing. Here’s a really short one by Laura Gentry who has a whole bunch of short videos on laughter yoga for commuters. They’re kinda silly and weird, but they’d keep me from falling asleep for sure. (Sigh.)

~~~

For more streams of consciousness,

plus the ups, downs, ins, and outs of the SoCS rules, please visit out host, Linda Hill at:

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS July 3, 2021 | (lindaghill.com)

If you like paranormal romance, check out Linda’s books!


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SoCS: Balancing Growth and Rest

Today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt was: to use the word, “growth” any way we liked, and to have fun!

Personal growth was a big deal once upon a time. I’m still growing, but I want to enjoy life, too. If you’re enjoying yourself are you wasting time? I don’t think so.

My energy level fluctuates a lot. The only thing even close to predictable is that I tend to have more energy at night. David is a morning person. He gets sleepy at about 10 pm. That was a good thing when we had the five pack of dogs. I could let them out at night and he could let them out and feed them in the morning.

When I was a mom, I had to get up early. Same with work. But now, I’m RETIRED. I can do what I want, mostly. Naps are a wonderful treat. I’ve earned them. Paid my dues. Left to my own devices, I’d probably keep vampire hours. But I do my best to get up and have breakfast with David.

Lately, there are times in the afternoon that I can barely keep my eyes open. Maybe 7 hours of sleep is not enough. Fatigue seems to come from nowhere. My bloodwork is “normal.” I guess I could just go with the flow and be grateful. I am SO VERY GRATEFUL I don’t have to go to a job at a scheduled time. However, I do need a schedule to get me to write and do art, so I don’t watch too much TV. Usually the TV stays off until after noon. I have a yoga class at the senior center plus silver sneakers exercise classes at the gym about twice a week. There are times when I get really into yard work and overdo it.

I like doing yard work – clearing the pathways through my urban forest where things grow lush and thick in the summer. Actually, they’re pretty thick right now. Not a lot of flowers, though. The amaryllis that gets the most sun is done blooming. The others haven’t bloomed yet. The Hydrangea has more blooms coming than usual on the way and the lantana is just starting. I guess that’s what happens when you let the trees do their thing in the urban forest and make shade. The good thing about tree shade is that it keeps the house cooler.

I guess I’m missing the Thursday Tree Love post. Unless I got the day wrong. It’s normally on the the second and fourth Thursday, but I didn’t see it. I hope our host Parul is okay. She lives in India. Feel free to join me in sending good thoughts and prayers to Parul Thakur and India.

Hydrangea Blooming

My urban forest is only on about one quarter acre.

From my kitchen window

Some of the wildlife visitors to my urban forest include hawks, geckos, squirrels, and an abundance of birds. Yesterday I saw a rabbit which surprised me because I don’t know how it got through the fence. I think the neighbor’s dog motivated it to find a way. Anyway, it was too fast for me to get more than a glimpse. Here are some old photos of backyard wildlife:

Challenges help us grow, but we need rest and relaxation, too.

~~~

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to us by Linda Hill. For more streams and rules, visit Linda’s blog:

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS May 15, 2021 | (lindaghill.com)


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SoCS: Making a Difference Being Different

Here’s our prompt: Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “difference.” Whatever the word “difference” conjures first in your mind, write about it. Enjoy!

Even though we’re not supposed to plan, I was tossing some ideas around after reading the prompt. I have a category called, “Making a Difference.” I don’t remember where I was going with that, but when I started to type a working title for this prompt, I thought about Temple Grandin and the article I read from my Good Morning America news email.

Temple Grandin has a PhD, so I should’ve typed Dr. in front of her name. She also has autism and has made a huge difference in our awareness and understanding of autism as well as in the lives of animals on farms. I hope you’ll read more about her fascinating life. Maybe I’ll post a video later.

In reading about Temple Grandin and autism, I wondered if the spectrum is much broader than we realize. Maybe it starts with social anxiety and awkwardness or slowness on one end, in which case I have traits. In school, I was almost always the last one done on tests. I’ve always been a slow reader. And an introvert who can force myself to be social, but then I need time alone. I have learned to think carefully before I speak and have a lot of pauses. Otherwise, I might say something inappropriate. which sometimes I do. But I also process slowly. When someone is talking fast and presenting a lot of information, I get lost. I don’t like frenetic music or any store with bright fluorescent lights and lots of stimuli. It’s only been in the past ten years or so that I’ve learned to honor these preferences in myself.

It’s okay to be different and honor our differences. We can help each other that way with everyone using their particular strengths. I have patience. I can paint and draw. My imagination is beyond imagination which can sometimes be a good thing, but I have to be careful not to imagine the worst. Or if I catch myself imagining the worst, I can stop. STOP! and imagine the best, or something different. Thoughts can make a difference.

Making a difference doesn’t have to be grand. We don’t have to save the world like I imagined when I was 11 and escaped into fantasy. We can make small differences with a smile or a kind word. We can make a difference in our own lives or the life of one person or animal.

When I looked up Temple Grandin on YouTube, this is the first video I saw, “The World Needs All Kinds of Minds,” so this is what I’m going with.

So then I went and looked at clips of the movie about Temple Grandin’s life which I have not seen. I was moved by this clip where she says, “I hate parties!” and she wants to be with cattle, and her mother takes time to tell, and show, Temple how much she loves her… I really want to see this movie! But for now, I’ll watch a couple more clips.

For more streams of consciousness and the rules, visit our host, Linda Hill at:

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS April 10, 2021 | (lindaghill.com)


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Good News Tuesday for Feb. 16, 2021: Successful Program Responds to Non-Violent Police Calls, Repair Don’t Waste, Wardrobe Donation, and Plastic Bricks

Seeking Balance One Tuesday at a Time

Successful Colorado Program Relieves Police from Non-Violent Calls

Sending health care specialists to non-violent calls frees up police to focus on fighting crime. Since June 1, a program in Colorado has been sending a paramedic and a mental health professional out to handle low level incidents like trespassing and mental health episodes that would have fallen to police. These STAR teams focus on assessment and connecting people with services.

“In its first six months, the Support Team Assisted Response program, or STAR, has responded to 748 (nonviolent) incidents. None required police or led to arrests or jail time.” Here are the details from Denver.

Europe’s Movement toward Repair instead of Waste

The EU’s eco-design regulations are moving forward in March with a regulation that will “define standards for repair and useful life making it easier to repair washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators and monitors. France is introducing an anti-waste law with a repair index for a wider variety of appliances and devices and aims to make 60% of devices repairable by 2026. You can read more from Next City here.

Alex Trebek’s Family Donates Wardrobe

Alex Trebek’s Jeopardy wardrobe is being donated to The Doe Fund, a charity that provides, “work, housing, vocational training, continuing education and comprehensive social services to underserved Americans with histories of addiction, homelessness and incarceration.” Good Morning America has more on the story.

Or this could be for WATWB? Look for the CBS News video of the Atlanta school counselor who runs a food pantry. His name is Anthony at Carver Elementary in Atlanta

Bricks from Plastic

Yes, we need to reduce our use of plastics, but we can also recycle and repurpose. Nzambi Matee of Kenya is a materials engineer and head of Gjenge Makers, which produces sustainable low-cost construction bricks made of recycled plastic and sand. They are winners of the Young Champions of the Earth Award. Ms. Matee will tell you more about their work in this video:

Got good news?

Feel free to share in the comments!


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One-Liner Wednesday: Perspectives on Multi-tasking, Mindfulness and Focus

“Totally Focused on Every Task All the Time.”

Really? That’s what it says on a pin that showed up on my table. I have no idea where it came from or where it is now.  It looks like one of the many items of memorabilia that belonged to my parents. But it’s a railroad pin, and my dad wasn’t with the railroad. Maybe it appealed to his USMC gunny side. 

The slogan  struck me as absurd. My husband David understood it as a safety directive. But from a wellness perspective, it sounds awfully unhealthy to me. I’ve read that there really is no such thing as multitasking, just shifting attention very, very fast from one task to another.

One of the components of mindfulness is doing one thing at a time. Ka at Fiesta Estrellas has an excellent five minute mindfulness meditation that includes the suggestion that all things in awareness are of equal importance while meditating. Please see her helpful comments below. I’m still processing…. and practicing…..

What do you think? Could being totally focused on every task all the time ever be a good thing?

Here’s an alternative perspective: 

What we focus on gets bigger. Choose wisely. 

 

For lots of wise or witty one-liners, visit our host, Linda Hill at:

One-Liner Wednesday – Is time ever wasted? | (lindaghill.com)


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Good Triggers

Today’s Just Jot January prompt is, “trigger.” That’s the name of a character in our host’s interesting story.

When we think of psychological or emotional triggers, we often think of a word, image, smell, etc. that triggers something unpleasant. Maybe it’s an unpleasant memory, reaction, or past trauma. But stop! Don’t go there!

What about triggers that trigger good memories or positive reactions?

I seem to remember positive triggers being created when I was trained to do hypnosis. It was over ten years ago, and while I did some private practice work after completing my training, I haven’t kept up with it, so my memory is a bit fuzzy. Maybe something will trigger my memory of establishing a good trigger!

If someone is in a relaxed state or having a pleasant experience, and puts their hand on their heart, or makes an okay sign with their hand and repeatedly pairs the positive feeling with that gesture, then the idea is that the gesture will trigger the positive feeling. Now, I remember the word, anchor, was also used in our training.

The smell of pine triggers a memory of hiking in the woods. The smell of cloves or cinnamon can trigger the taste of pumpkin pie and Thanksgiving or Christmas memories.

How about a song triggering memories or feelings from long ago? A song that was popular in our formative years can take us back to that time. Dan at No Facilities recently shared some examples in this post “Name that Tune.”

Songs by The Beach Boys trigger memories from the late 1970s driving to the beach in my 69 Dodge Dart with the windows down because there was no AC in that car.

Roberta Flack’s The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face takes me back to 1972 when David and I were dating.

Some songs just trigger funny feelings and images, like The Beatles Yellow Submarine.

Speaking of The Beatles, how about this one?

What are some of your good triggers?

For more jottings and Just Jot January info visit Linda at:

#JusJoJan prompt the 24th – “Trigger” | (lindaghill.com)


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A Letter to My Past Self About Reasons to Keep Living

This post is inspired by Eliza at: https://elizajourneythroughlife.home.blog/

I’m sending this back in time to myself whenever it’s needed most, sometime in my late teens or early twenties when I had thoughts about suicide. 

Dear JoAnne, 

It’s me, your future self, writing this to you when I am 65 years old which doesn’t feel as old as I thought it would back then when I was 20. Believe me, there is plenty of life to live. 

I know this is hard time for you. I know you are confused and lost trying to figure out what to do with your life. I know your heart aches and that you’ve had thoughts of giving up. Don’t give up!  It’s very important that you know life will get better. There will be hard times ahead. There will be times when you feel your heart is breaking, but the good times will vastly, surely, and greatly outweigh the bad. When I look back at all the good times over the past 45 years, I am so grateful that I didn’t give up.

You will gradually gain the skills to navigate and overcome the hard times. Things that seem impossible now, will someday be easier or less important. 

There are good times, wonderful times, ahead with the constants in your life: nature, art, writing, dogs, horses, cats, learning, and spirituality. These are the things you need to focus on now – the true loves of your life that always nurture your spirit and feed your soul. There will be love. Love from men, friends, and family. Your parents love you very much, even more than you can realize right now since you haven’t had children, yet, but you will. The love of family and friends is important. For now, don’t worry about the men, especially the ones who act like boys. You deserve love that is kind and caring, mature and strong. It might take a while, but you will have it. For now focus on loving yourself. 

You are valuable! You are worth so much more than you know. You have so much to give to this world with all your gifts, gifts that are still being developed. 

I know you might not want to hear this right now, but God loves you deeply, profoundly and forever. Just trust me on this. Your family is praying for you every day. Let this knowledge strengthen you. I know your ideas about religion are eclectic and nontraditional, and that’s okay. That’s part of who you are. But understand that there is a Higher Power who loves you dearly and has a wonderful plan for you! Trust the timing.

So, forget about men for now.  Remember your dreams. Your dreams may change, but they will always be about helping others and Mother Earth. For now, focus on loving yourself and learning. Cut down on the drinking. Be safe. Go back to college. Feel free to explore different classes, different interests.

There’s a whole world of possibilities waiting for you!

I’m sending big hugs and abundant love across time to you. Be still for a moment and feel it. Then move forward with you wonderful life. I promise your life will be will be interesting, beautiful and full of wonder.  

I love you always, 

JoAnna

Today’s Just Jot January topic was, “Letter.” I’m thankful to E for her nudge and patience on this letter and to Linda, our JusJoJan host for getting me to go through my draft ideas to get it written.

For more on Just Jot January, visit: #JusJoJan prompt the 11th – “Letter” | (lindaghill.com)