#WATWB, Quotes

Truth and Reconciliation #OrangeShirtDay #EveryChildMatters #WATWB

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by six co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Eric Lahti, Inderpreet Uppal, Shilpa Garg, Sylvia Stein and Peter Nena.

Our next post will be on October 26th, 2018. If you would like to join us please click here!


“Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways.” ~ Dalai Lama XIV

Those who know me know I am a proud Canadian and a huge history buff. There is, however, a shameful and deplorable period of history that spanned over a century and not many Canadians are aware of.  Between the 1870s and the 1990s, the Canadian government was financially responsible for Indian residential schools. These residential schools were found in most of our Canadian provinces and territories with the exception of Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland.   Indigenous children were sent to these schools, taken from their homes, separated from their families, stripped of their culture, beliefs, and language while enduring horrific mental and physical abuse which many did not survive; all in order to assimilate them to “fit” with European Christian ideals.

To some, this might not seem like an uplifting post but to me, it is, it’s starting a dialogue which will hopefully bring awareness, offer hope, healing, reconciliation and a level of understanding so events like this will never be part of our history again.

Orange Shirt Day began in 2013 as a result of residential school survivor Phyllis Jack Webstad sharing her experience of the day she arrived at a residential school. Webstad shared her story at a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) residential school commemoration event held in Williams LakeBritish Columbia, Canada. On her first day at Residential School Phyllis’ had her new orange shirt taken away from her which was just the beginning of what she would lose. The date of September 30th was chosen for the annual event because it is the time of year in which Indigenous children were historically taken from their homes to residential schools. Phyllis’ experience is used today to teach students about residential schools and their assimilation practices. In 2017 Jane Philpott, Canada’s Minister of Indigenous Services and Carolyn BennettIndigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Minister encouraged people across Canada to participate in this commemorative and educational event.

On September 30th by wearing an orange shirt, you are recognizing the survivors of residential schools and helping to bring communities together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope.

For more information about #OrangeShirtDay: http://www.orangeshirtday.org/

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#WATWB, Quotes

Never Giving Up on a Dream #WATWB

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by five co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Simon Falk, Andrea Michaels, Shilpa Garg, Sylvia Stein and myself.

Our next post will be on September 28th 2018. If you would like to join us please click here!


“Take a limitation and turn it into an opportunity. Take an opportunity and turn it into an adventure by dreaming BIG!”
Jo Franz (via Goodreads)

At 18 years old singer and songwriter Mandy Harvey lost her hearing due to a connective tissue disease.   Born with near perfect pitch, Mandy had dreams of one day becoming a choir director and was working hard towards her goal. Without her hearing Mandy resigned to her situation, thought her reason for living and dreams for the future were gone.  But that’s not what ended up happening.  Mandy found a way to “hear” music, just not through her ears, but through vibrations.

Having my husband, several family members and friends be musicians I know how to most of them music seems almost as necessary as eating. It nourishes them body, mind and spirit and without it they struggle or feel as though something is missing.

After years of giving up and accepting her situation Mandy’s love of music, optimism and determination helped her find a way to still pursue her dreams. Although not a choir director, Mandy has garnered a great deal of attention and it doesn’t look like her music career is slowing down anytime soon.

The video below tells Mandy’s story…

Mandy’s Original Song “Try”  (P.S. Get the tissues ready…)

Mandy Harvey’s Official Website: https://mandyharveymusic.com/

#WATWB, Quotes

Overcoming Obstacles by Finding a Way #WATWB

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by six co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Peter Nena,
Inderpreet Kaur UppalShilpa Garg, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Sylvia McGrath and myself.

Our next post will be on August 31st, 2018. If you would like to join us please click here!


 

“If it’s important you’ll find a way. If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse.” ~ Ryan Blair

In life, many face challenges that to some would seem impossible to overcome.  Whether it’s health-related, situational, financial…sometimes many just give up. Not Thirty-three-year-old Laurel Burns though. Laurel recently graduated from college with a degree in Medical Administration. Laura did it as a single mother of two children who attended night classes towards her degree, helping her children with homework, driving them around, doing her own homework and understandably multitasking in order to accomplish her goals. Although there are many single-parent families who face the same rigorous lifestyle, Laura faces another challenge, she was born with no arms.  Laurel doesn’t let anything stop her and although she admits at times she faces anxiety she also tries to push herself to find a way to overcome obstacles.  She has learned to type quickly and has also found time to draw and paint and she sells her artwork on her Facebook page (see link below). Laurel is one of those people whose enthusiasm and determination inspire all those who face challenges they think are insurmountable.

The video below tells Laurel’s story…

Check out Laurel’s Facebook page to learn more about this incredible woman. https://www.facebook.com/laurelshome/

#WATWB, Art, Chronic Illness

Giving Artists with Disabilities a Place to Thrive! #WATWB

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by five co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Shilpa Garg, Inderpreet Kaur Uppal, Peter Nena, Andrea Michaels and Damyanti Biswas.
To learn more about #WATWB or to join us click here!


Although, due to health and personal reasons I had been taking a brief hiatus from #WATWB this video passed through my feeds and I just had to share.

As many are aware I am a huge advocate for art as therapy. Art can help us make sense of our lives and ourselves, can uplift us on the darkest of days, can be healing and transformative but most importantly it can give us a voice. At Creative Growth Art Center a non-profit in Oakland, California it does just that. Since opening their doors in 1974 the centre has worked with hundreds of artists with developmental, mental and physical disabilities providing them with tools, space, inspiration and support to thrive as artists. Serving approximately 162 artists a week they cater to a multiple of mediums from painting and drawing to wordworking and fashion. Although many of the clients are non-verbal, here, art is the common language.

Today, artists represented by Creative Growth have been invited to the Venice Biennale, have had their works acquired by MoMA, and remain are making a wonderful name for themselves among collectors around the world.

To learn more about the centre and their programs click here: http://www.creativegrowth.org/category/news/

#WATWB

Armchair Archaeologist~ Helping piece together the puzzle. #WATWB

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by five co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Sylvia McGrath, Sylvia Stein, Shilpa Garg, Eric Lahti and myself. To learn more about #WATWB or to join us click here!


Talk to those who know me and they can tell you how passionate I am about history and archaeology. I study archaeology, read about it and even write fiction about it. I also include the term “armchair archaeologist” in most of my bios, so when I found this video…well, I just had to share it. 😊

Meet Sarah Parcak, a modern-day Indiana Jones whose job title is space archaeologist. Space archaeology uses satellite imagery in order to find hidden ancient sites throughout the world. With GlobalXplorer, an online platform, which uses everyday people working together online to protect and monitor archaeological sites. Through GlobalXplorer Parcak is empowering others who might not be able to run off and “play Indy” to become “armchair archaeologists”. One such person is 90 year old Doris Jones. Doris is one of the leading contributors to GlobalXplorer, having mapped out thousands of sites using her home computer she has helped Parcak gain valuable information to help the archaeological community. Thanks to people like Jones and Parcak, more and more pieces of our human history are being put into the puzzle that is our past.

Please check out this video…

To learn more about GlobalXplorer or join the mission click here: https://www.globalxplorer.org/

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Eliot
#WATWB, Quotes

The Power of Forgiveness #WATWB

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by five co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Shilpa Garg, Peter Nena, Eric Lahti, Roshan Radhakrishnan and Inderpreet Kaur Uppal


In 1995, Ples Felix’s 14-year-old grandson, Tony Hicks, as part of a drug and alcohol-fueled gang initiation shot and killed Azim Khamisa’s son Tariq in cold blood. Losing his son was perhaps one of the worse tragedies any parent could endure. It could have spawned more hate, more anger which under the circumstances would be expected. However that is not what Azim Khamisa wanted for his life, or his son’s memory. Azim decided that anger would not be the solution, both boys were victims. In the same vein Felix had to face the fact that his grandson was responsible for killing another person, an innocent teen. Both teens had a life ahead of them, that would no longer be. Felix and his grandson met with Azim from there life changed for all of them. Khamisa and Felix both had to travel down paths of deep meditation and prayer to focus on forgiveness, instead of issuing blame and both chose to become part of the solution. In a courageous act of these two men are working together, using their story to cultivate a more empathetic, peaceful and compassionate society showing victims of tragedy that they can grow and heal. They started the Tariq Khamisa Foundation to educate, counsel and support children and teens on how to live life with peace and empathy. The video below tells their story….

“Peace is possible,” Khamisa says. “How do I know that? Because I am at peace.”

Visit The Tariq Khamisa Foundation website: tkg.org

#WATWB

Five Incredible Tales of Human Kindness! #WATWB

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by six co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Shilpa GargSimon FalkLynn HallbrooksEric Lahti, Damyanti Biswas and Guilie Castillo. To learn more about #WATWB or to join us click here!


After a break last month, #WATWB is back and ready to start 2018 with not one, but five stories of incredible human kindness!
Many of us in North America are experiencing a very bleak and cold winter, what better way for us to warm our hearts than to hear about five incredible tales of human kindness! This video introduces us to five amazing individuals who use their passions to help others.  We hear about a theatre company that views disabilities as special abilities, a retiree who makes socks for the homeless, a surf instructor who teaches others to ride the waves in and out of the water and a dance instructor helping refugees express themselves through dance.  We also hear more from Magic Wheelchair who I featured in my October #WATWB post. 🙂

 

#WATWB, Quotes

“It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it.”~W. Mitchell #WATWB

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by five co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Sylvia Stein, Susan Scott, Inderpreet Uppal, Shilpa Garg, Andrea Michaels and Damyanti Biswas.


Meet W. Mitchell a former US Marine, San Francisco cable-car gripman, small-town mayor and now a well-respected keynote speaker. W. Mitchell has endured a great deal in his life but lives and breaths his motto: “It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it.”

In 1971 he had a horrific motorcycle accident, the first of two life-altering and tragic events. While driving home he was involved in a blazing motorcycle accident leaving him to cope with devastating burns to over 65% of his body. After a painful rehabilitation, a plane crash four years later left him with a spinal injury, unable to use his legs and confined to a wheelchair.

W. Mitchell didn’t let his challenges stop him, he was determined to gain control, adapt to his new situation, and thrive. Since his accidents, he has become an internationally acclaimed mayor, responsible for saving a mountain, a successful businessman, a highly respected environmentalist, an author and an international keynote speaker. He even continued to be a commercial pilot and a whitewater rafting enthusiast. Today, through humour and compassion his message empowers others to accept challenges, embrace change and take action and is living proof that life is what you make it.

Check out W. Mitchell on YouTube:


You can also visit his website: http://www.wmitchell.com

#WATWB, Quotes

Magic Wheelchair, Putting a Smile on Children’s Faces! #WATWB

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by five co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Shilpa Garg, Sylvia McGrath, Mary Giese, Guilie Castillo and myself. To learn more about #WATWB or to join us click here!


On October 31st many countries around the world celebrate Halloween also known as All Hallows’ Eve. Halloween in most western countries is a holiday primarily for children where dressing up in costumes and either attending parties or trick or treating is commonplace. For some children (and many of us adults 😉 ) it is the one day of the year we can don a costume and become something different. Many dress up in scary costumes or go as their heroes. Many times children in wheelchairs are excluded from completely dressing up. I love Halloween and I love to see children revel in becoming their favorite character even if it’s just for one day.

Ryan and Lana Weimer have five children, three of whom were born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy a form of Muscular Dystrophy. SMA is characterized by loss of motor function and progressive muscle wasting which often confines the child to a wheelchair.

Every Halloween, Ryan determined to make sure his kids were included would create amazing costumes to transform his children and their wheelchairs. What started out as a simple act of love for his children became an endeavor which has brought smiles to disabled kids all over the world. In 2015, Ryan and Lana started Magic Wheelchair, a non-profit organization that seeks to put a smile on the face of every child in a wheelchair.

Watch here to check out some of the costumes Magic Wheelchair has created:

Article about Magic Wheelchair: https://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/halloween-costumes-kids-in-wheelchairs/

Learn More About Magic Wheelchair: https://www.magicwheelchair.org/

To Learn More About SMA: http://www.muscle.ca/about-muscular-dystrophy/types-of-neuromuscular-disorders/spinal-muscular-atrophy/

#WATWB, Quotes

Making Magic for Pediatric Cancer Patients #WATWB

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by five co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Michelle Wallace, Peter Nena, Emerald Barnes, Andrea Michaels and Shilpa Garg. To learn more about #WATWB or to join us click here!


A fellow #WATWB blogger, Lynn Hallbrooks, forwarded this story to me knowing I am an avid crocheter and that this story would be right up my alley. A huge shout out to Lynn for thinking of me. 🙂

In 2014 oncology nurse, Holly Christensen heard of a friend’s child being diagnosed with cancer and wanted to do something to help. She wanted to help her friend’s little girl find a light in the scary darkness of the disease. Holly decided to recreate the Princess wigs she had made for her daughters for Halloween. One wig led to thousands more in a movement called the Magic Yarn Project that not only changed the lives of Holly and her family but many peoples’ lives throughout the world.

Watch here to view Holly’s amazing story:

The Magic Yarn Project GoFundMe page: https://medium.com/giving-matters-notes-from-gofundme/the-magic-yarn-project-4e6c6ce688fe

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”~ Sir Winston Churchill