Category Archives for Uncategorized

The Women of Saudi Arabia

womenofsaudiarabia

On December 12, the women of Saudi Arabia pulled off two amazing accomplishments.

They exercised their right to vote for the first time in the country’s history—despite Saudi’s Grand Mufti, the most senior religious official, declaring that female involvement in politics was “opening the door to evil.”

Princess Reema Al-Saud said, “It’s a very proud moment to be a Saudi woman because today we voted and we stood together for something that’s positive for all of us with the support of our whole community. This is a big moment for all of us.”

Then over 13,000 women walked through the doors to partake in an eight-hour event featuring food, carnival games, spinning, and Zumba classes, and on-site screenings and surveys for mental health, breast cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

At around 6:15 p.m., Al-Saud and her team started the ribbon formation process. An hour and a half later, with thousands of women in formation, the speakers in the arena blew out and the giant video screen froze, delaying the Guinness judging by 25 minutes. Ultimately, the judges counted 8,246 women in their uniform pink head scarves—beating the previous record set in India by nearly 1,400 heads. (The event’s 1,900 female volunteers, plus the all-female food vendors, artisans, education specialists from the various ministries, and first aid and cleaning staff were not eligible to be counted.)

In addition to gathering a record number of women together to raise awareness, the event generated 1.5 million riyals (about the equivalent of $400,000) for the Zahra Breast Cancer Association.

Read more: http://nation.com.pk/international/14-Dec-2015/10-000-saudi-women-join-hands-to-break-record-for-breast-cancer-awarenesssee

SPC Brown & Rocky

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This photo has gone viral on social media. I love that they were both able to remain in the same hospital room while receiving treatment. I think that it is special that the doctors and hospital recognized the bond they both have, and how they could both support each other.

SPC Brown and Rocky are both doing well after being treated for injuries they suffered from an IED blast earlier this week while searching a structure in support of ongoing operations in Afghanistan.

They are both very thankful for your thoughts and prayers and are in the process of heading back home. SPC Brown arrived early this morning to Walter Reed where he was met by his waiting family, and Rocky is expected to return to Fort Hood in the coming weeks. Please remember them, as well as all our Soldiers deployed around the world, during the holiday season. Proven in Battle!

Cats & Curiosity

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Cats are the most curious creatures. They creep up on something and watch it so intently. They want to touch and experience everything. They live life as a big adventure. We need to be more like cats.

Einstein said “the important thing is not to stop questioning,… Never lose a holy curiosity.” Curiosity is the tool that can be used to open any door. It is the key to the lock. The starting point. It is the only way to enter the journey to self awareness.

Curiosity keeps us engaged. Like adventurers we discover new worlds and possibilities. We see things we never noticed before. Looking beneath the surface, entire new worlds and ideas open up before us.

Like a charging station curiosity gives us energy by bringing excitement into our lives. We spend energy being curious and exploring, and at the same time we are renewed by what we discover. It is like the infinity symbol going around and around and never ending. Each discovery leads us to another “what else is possible?”

Being curious requires that we have an open mind. That we be open to not only learning something new, but also to unlearning what we have outgrown. We also need to be open to relearning about things we thought we understood, but which take on new meanings as we dig deeper into them.

Creating a life filled with happiness and love starts with curiosity and self awareness – asking the right questions and not being afraid of the answers. Being 100% honest with ourselves, will produce insight into not only the problem that presents itself, but the solution that comes from a new perspective.

I find personally that this is where the hard part comes, making a decision to put the solution into action and just doing it. Making the positive change usually means both stopping a practice and starting a new practice.

This is where you change a “should” into a “must”. If you just think or say, “I should do this or that” nothing will happen. The should has to turn into a must, which has a vibration of action embedded into it.

The “should” is like the lazy dream that never goes anywhere. The “must” is like the emergency vehicle speeding down the road with lights flashing and sirens wailing. Everyone gets out of the way, because you are on a mission that can’t be stopped.

Amelia Earhart said “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.”

New Years Eve

On New Years Eve, my nephew got married in Bullhead City, AZ. We stayed in Laughlin, NV and then went to St George to see my Aunt. We came home Saturday the 2nd, leaving around 1:00 PM and driving back to LA was a nightmare. I foolishly thought that leaving on Saturday would be escaping the crawling traffic on Sunday. The six hour drive took nine hours and would have probably been more if I hadn’t cut off at Highway 58 and cut across to I-5 that way and then down to 118 and home.
I share this because when you are in solid bumper to bumper traffic people seem to lose any manners that they might have had. People were driving on the shoulders, driving alongside the road on the desert, they were cutting people off, honking horns and of course the hand gestures. Every once in awhile I would have to take a deep centering breath because I could feel the frustration, anger, anxiety coming into my car from the people surrounding us. Music has a way of soothing the soul when you are in these types of tense feeling situations.
The other quote I loved and considered for this post was, “music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it a rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.” I went with Plato because of “wings to the mind” and “flight to the imagination”. I love the visuals I get with the words, wings and flight.
The beats in a song are like the heart beating. A steady comforting sound. We hear the beating of our moms heart at conception. We put our ears against our lovers chest and hear the beating of their heart. It is life pumping through our body and soul until the last heartbeat echos off in the distance, and we return to our heavenly father.
There is also a rhythm to music and to beating of the heart. There is even a genre of music called “soul music”. It is a mixture of gospel and rhythm and blues music. It draws your body to move with the music. You might start dancing or clapping your hands, you just have to participate with your body.
When words fail us, music can still transport us up the vibrational scale from the depths of despair back into the nirvana of the soul, where beauty, joy and happiness live. It fills in the emptiness that we feel in our soul and like a string draws the soul up towards the light.
Martin Luther called music, “the art of the prophets” and said “it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.” Music transcends generations of men. It lives on long after the composer has left the earthly realm. It doesn’t require to be translated like words into one’s own language but exists in all languages.
Think about the musical scores to the movie soundtracks. You can hear the music and your mind will take you directly to the scene in the movie that it applies to. It creates a wide range of emotional responses when you are watching a movie. You can be in another room and practically describe what must be happening in the movie based on the music that you hear. You can tell someone is experiencing great joy and happiness, that someone is dying or has died, that the climax of an action scene is happening, etc…., it can induce goosebumps, tears of both sadness and happiness, and joyous laughter.
It has even been said that “music is the prayer that the heart sings.” I know that there have been many times in my life that music was my only escape from the problems I was experiencing. It allowed me to regroup, put myself back together emotionally and go back into life feeling like things would be ok.
Years ago when my children were young, I would put on Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and clean my house. It made the housework go so much faster and not seem like such a chore. So whatever is going on with your life, just know that there is some music to go along with it, or to transport you away from it. You can go into deep meditation or get your party started and rock out your soul!

Sliding Doors

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Sliding Doors is a movie that came out years ago with Gwyneth Paltrow, in which they alternate between two different realities based on her making it through the sliding door of the subway home. If she catches the train, she also catches her husband with another woman in her own bed. If she misses the train he is alone when she arrives and stays married to him.

In each parallel universe she becomes a different person. How many split second decisions based on timing of the moment can you think of – those cases where if only I was one minute later or earlier that would not have happened?

About three weeks ago I was on jury duty. Driving home on the second day, another car making a turn came into my lane and dented up my car. I finally got it out of the shop this week, (delayed due to waiting until after jury duty was over) and his insurance is not covering my deductible because I have no witnesses. So as I am a work in progress just like everyone else, I am working through my personal feelings of “it’s not fair” and why do I now have to go through presenting my case to the state insurance board, etc……, because I am refusing to just roll over and take the $720+ hit to my finances.

So anyway, when this guy hit me, I immediately went into how if I hadn’t been on jury duty, I would not have been in the intersection making this turn at that time, and he would have either not had an accident because no one was in the lane, or he would have hit someone else, but not me. For me, jury duty was a sliding door. Not as big an impact as Gwyneth had in the movie, but a sliding door nonetheless.

What is interesting about the movie is the ending. They take her back to one version, in which she didn’t catch her husband. In this version she is leaving the scene in which she now discovers his affair. The final scene is with Gwyneth in the elevator with the man she had a relationship with in the other version, tying up the ending to mean that no matter whether she made the subway or not, she was destined to be with this man.

So how much of destiny really occurs in our lives? Did my having a very minor accident with this man, which delayed me getting home about an hour change my destiny? Did the minor accident keep me from having a major accident further down the road? Was there a purpose to the accident, a meaning that I will get as I take my case to the state insurance board?
This is one of my back shelf beliefs. Things that I learn about and am curious about but not yet sure it constitutes a belief or not. What is destiny really? How much does destiny or fate really play into our lives? How much does our desire to tie everything up into neat little bows, make us put fate or destiny as the causation of what happens to us? If destiny is true where does that put free will? Does that eliminate choice and make it simply an illusion?

Then there is the concept of Karma. Is Karma a destiny that you have consequences for your actions that play out throughout your life?

I don’t have all of the answers. I think that all of them are right in some aspect though. I do believe in a core destiny, that we come to bring something to this world, or experience in this lifetime. I believe that we have free will and choices at every step of the way as we live our life, to encompass that destiny or run away from it. I do believe in some sort of concept of karma, that our choices all have consequences, both intended and unintended. But each moment of our life, we have a new opportunity to make new choices and we can always turn our ship around if it is off course.

The woman in the photo made the choice to climb up the cliff. Each moment she is making a new choice for a hand or foot hold to take her up to the next level. I think that we are all like this woman, choosing each moment to take ourselves to the next level. I would have chosen the rocky path up to the top, rather than the climbing up to the cliff. Each path is a different choice but the same destination. Is one wrong or right, or does it matter? What do you think?

Teachers Are Amazing People

teachersareamazing

Teachers are amazing people. This article reflected 11 different teachers and what they do above and beyond. One of them is a teacher that we featured last month, Chris who spent 10 minutes each building the children’s self esteem.

The photo is of a row of lockers that the teachers painted over the summer with names of new and old classics book spines. They wanted the kids to have something special to come back to.

Elizabeth Miranda of the Philippines might just take the cake for being the most dedicated teacher ever. Each and every school day, she walks two hours through jungle and crosses five rivers just to reach the students in Sitio Barogonte, an extremely remote village.

And you thought your commute was bad. She’s the only one close enough to be their teacher, so she had to find a way to make it work. And she has.

Click on the link to see more great stories of teachers who are real hero’s.

See more: http://www.upworthy.com/11-times-teachers-totally-blew-us-away-with-love-for-their-students?c=upw1&u=7a530ec3d3ee2591ad9c3e88c1f09024d932956d

Aunt Bertha Software Program

auntberthasoftware

It can be so confusing and frustrating when you are seeking for programs and/or services to help with the healthcare of a loved one. If you have tried everything and have lost your housing, where do you turn to? What agencies can help? What nonprofits are there to help you in your town? If you don’t know what is out there, how can you get the help you need? Enter the software program “Aunt Bertha.”

Founded in 2010 in Austin, Texas, the startup Aunt Bertha is an online database of human services, connecting governments, charities and churches with the 75 million Americans in all 50 states who need their services, says founder Erine Gray. Thus far, his company has helped more than 177,000 people.

When you look at the 1.4 million nonprofits in the U.S., how do you know which ones are good and which ones are not?” asks Gray. “Most people are not professional social workers. For somebody in need, it’s very difficult to find out what’s available to you.”

“What we wanted was a simple way for a seeker — the term we use for a person in need or their relative or champion — to essentially raise their hand and let an agency know electronically they need help,” Gray, a GLG fellow, explains. “Part of the vision is being able to find and apply for services in seconds.”

Eventually, as more users enroll in programs, Aunt Bertha will be able to track whether the charity met the person’s needs. As soon as a seeker submits an application for rental assistance or hearing aids, say, through the online portal, the service will clock the nonprofit’s response time and follow up with a satisfaction survey, creating a granular picture that’s more detailed than what can be found on GuideStar or Charity Navigator. The assessment will direct users to sign up for more effective programs.

“We can tell you what people are searching for, what they’re finding and also what they’re not,” says Gray. For instance, if the number of searches for soup kitchens in Lubbock, Texas, suddenly spikes, it could encourage city lawmakers to look at large-scale solutions.

“If we’re successful, the entire nation will be able to visualize, in real time, where the pain is in the United States and see the suffering in the underbelly that doesn’t really show. Policymakers and data scientists will be able to see hotspots far earlier than any set of economic forecasts,” Gray says. “To be able to unlock that data and get it in the right hands, would be an amazing experience. We’d be able, in real time, to alleviate that suffering.”

Read more: http://nationswell.com/aunt-bertha-easy-access-social-services/#ixzz3sx5hCHLA

Diana Nammi

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Diana Nammi has been battling for women’s rights since she was a teenager growing up in Iran. In the link you can find a video interview that BBC did and her last sentence is so powerful, “the world should not stay silent about these things.”

A former Peshmerga fighter who came to the UK in 1996, she has been instrumental in the campaign to bring honor killers to justice in British courts as well as striving to get forced marriages banned in this country.

Her achievements were recognized when she received one of the six recipients of the Barclays Women of the Year Awards in London in 2014. She has earned this for her work at the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO), which she founded in her home in 2002 to provide advice and counselling for women from Middle Eastern, North African and Afghan communities.

In the past, the only recognition that she and her staff have had is abuse, threats and even physical attack. She says. “Many people tried to prevent us talking about this and said, ‘You are disclosing private matters to the world’, but it is honor killings that bring dishonor. Killing women should not be tolerated.”

She is turning her attention to “marital captivity” – women trapped in desperately unhappy, often violent, religious marriages who are unable to divorce. She is also launching a campaign for all school staff to be trained to spot signs of honour-based violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation. And Nammi wants pupils to be taught that they have the right not to face honour-based violence.

“What we need next is to raise awareness within the community and to educate people about this law and about why the practice is wrong.” Children as young as nine are being forced into marriage, she says. In some cases, “they are still attending schools, struggling to do homework, and at the same time they are being raped by a middle-aged man regularly, and being abused by their families”.

“We need to tell children from a young age what human rights are,” she insists. “At the moment, it is the opposite, with many people telling young girls, ‘It’s your duty to be a good mother and good wife and housewife’, but they are not telling them their rights. We need to empower them.”

She Who Leaves a Trail of Glitter

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She who leaves a trail of glitter is never forgotten. Do you believe this about yourself and your life? Or do you think it only about someone else, someone more beautiful, more intelligent, richer than you? Too many of us don’t even feel worthy to have the glitter, yet alone leave a trail of it for others to follow.

So many of us come out of childhood thinking that we are not enough. Not enough to have our parents love us the way they should have. Not smart enough. Not talented enough (insert – don’t sing, don’t dance, don’t draw). Not pretty enough. The list is endless about how we are not enough, to be loved, accepted, to have our dreams become a reality.

It has been said that the biggest disease affecting humanity is “I am not enough”. It is the driver of every act of self sabotage. I am not enough, so whenever things start happening that put this belief in danger, we will self sabotage ourselves back into reaffirming this belief.

Marissa Peer is a bestseller author, celebrity hypnotist and speaker. A lot of her focus is on helping people overcome this limiting belief to help them stop sabotaging their lives. One of the things that she recommends is putting on your phone a timed text message stating “I am enough” and having it text you each morning and evening. Write on the mirrors in your home, especially in your bathroom and carry around a piece of paper to remind you “YOU ARE ENOUGH – you are so enough it is UNBELIEVABLE how enough you are.”

So think about your language and how often do you say things like
– I am so stupid
– I always forget important things
– I am ___________ – whatever derogatory label you say about yourself (fat, lazy, ugly, etc…)
Is there somewhere about yourself that you don’t think you are enough?

When you get praise, how often do you reject praise, and you add in a piece of criticism? “That is a beautiful outfit you have on today”, and you say – this old thing, it makes be look fat.
Even scarier, do your sons and daughters say these things about themselves? When they are 1, 2 or 3 years old we celebrated that they took their first step, their first word, the first time they went potty in the potty chair. But there comes a time when they start school and they start being compared to others. Now they are experiencing the “not enough” and they start believing it.

Turn it around for yourself, for your children. Learn to accept praise without feeling unworthy. Hear the words you say about yourself, and change them when they are downgrading or demeaning. I always wanted my mother to say I did a good job – I made it a point to say to my children that they did a good job.

Lie to your brain, cheat your fear, and steal back your life of “I am more than enough” feeling that you had as a very young child. I am enough; you are enough; and we’ve always been enough. Now grab the glitter and start leaving a trail, spreading it with every step you take.

Facebook Experiment

I am conducting an experiment. I was having a conversation with my assistant about my writing a book. I have been gathering the past couple of years of posts to see what might be included in the book. She was talking about my writing and how good she thought is was.

I said that I wasn’t that sure that people really liked my writing because I have almost 750 friends here on FB but I get so few likes or comments, that I didn’t think that it appealed or meant much to most people. I know that a few of my friends say that they like my writing, but I didn’t think that it speaks to the majority.

So Jacqueline Davis says that it is because of how FB works. If you are not liking or sharing or commenting to someone’s posts, after a while you just don’t see those posts any longer. So probably the majority of the 750 friends don’t see what I write.
So here is the experiment. If you read this post either comment or like the post so I can see how many people actually have this post come up on their feed.

If you feel so called, I would welcome any ideas on what I should include in my book (based on past posts).

Thanking you in advance and hoping you will say something if you see this.

Worries

So what can we do about “worries”? For example, if a loved one is going to the store and will be about 20 minutes, at 21 minutes I might have them dying in a car accident. I might think that I am worrying about their safety