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My Big Brother
By Derek Thompson

It is still hard to take in that my brother, David, has died. Not just in the hospital again, or having switched the phone off for two days because he doesn’t feel like talking, but irrevocably gone. I am the last of the line and all the family memories come crashing to a halt with me.

Sibling rivalry seems such a gentle term for the battles we fought and re-fought in an effort to establish separate identities. Read more

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COMMENTS (6) | family, relationships, siblings
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The Compassion Of Animals
By A Better Life Dog Rescue

Lucky:

Mary and her husband Jim had a dog named Lucky. Lucky was a real character. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy. Inevitably, someone would forget and something would come up missing. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | animal companion, animal wisdom, thriving
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The Invisible Student
By Casey Lee

Don’t reveal anything about your personal life.

Lock anything that matters to you in the trunk of your car, and make sure that no one knows which vehicle belongs to you.

Don’t worry about their personal lives; if something seems sketchy, refer it to the guidance department and forget it ever happened.

And most importantly, whatever you do, don’t even think about cracking a smile before Christmas.

No, these are not instructions for one’s first week on the job at a maximum-security prison facility. These are supposedly helpful tidbits of advice that I received from seasoned teachers before diving headfirst into one of the most chaotic and stressful experiences one could possibly embark upon: my first year as a high school English teacher. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | abuse, children, enlightenment, teaching
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Thriving With OCD
By Paige Lougheed - 16 Years Old

I truly believe that I need to get the message of hope out to everyone else stuggling with OCD. I know that if I had read an article like this before I was diagnosed, or even after, there is not a doubt in my mind that it would have helped me understand myself in ways unimaginable. I hope that this article can also reach out to others who know someone who might potentially have OCD, and assist them in seeking treatment.

I’m a 15 year old straight-A student. I am also currently in grade eight piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music. At school, I’m involved in cross country as well as track and field. I live, and continue to live, in constant fear. From the monkey bars to the high school hallways, I have suffered from anxiety for as long as I can remember. Although I have made amazing progress in recent years, I have lived with OCD my entire life. Read more

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COMMENTS (6) | children, mental illness, OCD
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The Day My Dad Died — Part Two
By Diane Schachter

October 11th – a Friday, one of those perfect fall days.  The air is crisp and the trees are bright as they glisten in the sun.  Children are playing on the street.  How can all of this be happening while my dad lies in a hospital bed in our dining room, taking what will soon be his final breaths? Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | health, loss, relationships
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The Redemptive Paw — Part One
By Melissa Roberts

Felix, my beloved cat, chose me when I was in college, over ten years ago. I came home for Christmas break my senior year, and there she was.

Back then, Felix had no name. A street kitty, cat of her wits, she was a stray, and an unwanted stray at that. She chased away the family’s other cats from the bowl of food Mum put out daily. She resisted extensive coaxing, and her green eyes could stare right through you with a disconcerting “I see you.” I’d never lost a staring contest to a cat before Felix. Now that my family had found homes for the gray and white kittens she’d deposited under our porch the previous summer, they wanted her gone. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | animal companion, animal wisdom
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Saving My Marriage
By M. LaVora Perry

What happens when you’re already in deep with a partner—way past the “getting to know you” phase—but lately you feel certain that you blew it by hooking up with this person, and now you’re stuck with him or her.

We all know about some of the most radical options, especially the big “D” or the big “B” (divorce or breakup). There’s also the big “I”—infidelity. Other options are marriage counseling, or individual counseling if your partner isn’t game. And perhaps the least appealing choice of all is to simply continue suffering.

However, there’s another option: decide way down deep inside yourself that you’re going to turn your situation into a mind-blowing victory. Read more

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COMMENTS (10) | empowerment, marriage, relationships, self improvement, spiritual
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Life Is a Continuous Adventure for This 75 Year Old Texan
By Greg Melikov

Larry P. Johnson is proof that disabilities can be conquered. He lives life fearlessly and with zest because to him it’s all an adventure.

The transplanted Chicagoan has been a radio disc jockey, TV newscaster and telephone company human resources director. The San Antonio resident of more than three decades is a family man, author and motivational speaker.

Larry is an amazing individual despite being blind for 74 ½ years of his life. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | blind, empowerment, thriving
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Hundred Pounds Of Love Healed Our Family
By Denise Morini

It seems to me that there are two kinds of people in this world, dog lovers and cat lovers. A dog lover, I was not. On my son Joey’s sixth birthday, my husbands’ parents presented Joey with a puppy, without my knowledge and permission. A Jack Russell Terrier, just what my husband had requested. My husband wanted a small dog that would not shed. No one bothered to look up the highly energetic disposition of Jack Russells or that some of them are not recommended for small children. We named him Jack (very original, I know); he sure was a cute fellow though.

Fast forward to a few months down the road: Jack was still not house trained. Everything was chewed up, including woodwork and the wall to wall carpeting. One night he peed on me as I slept. The worst, though, was when he constantly nipped at my son.  I could not leave the room for fear of him injuring my child. It was during this time that my mother, Joey’s beloved grandmother, was diagnosed with 2-60 days to live. I decided that I could not live like this any longer. Read more

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COMMENTS (8) | animal companion, animal wisdom, parenting, self improvement, spiritual
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Coming To Terms With The Ghosts Of Christmas Past
By Carol Ayer

“Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la la…” The all-too-familiar Christmas carol resounded throughout the drugstore. I warily eyed the plastic reindeer and Santa Clauses filling every crevice of the building; the ornaments, the toys, and the candy stacked high on the shelves. I had to force myself to concentrate on finding what I’d come for–tissues, paper towels, and other provisions of everyday life.

But I soon became distracted by another carol. It was no use trying to ignore it. I had to accept the facts. Christmas was back, and I would have to cope. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | enlightenment, loss, parent divorce, relationships
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Pebbles
By Carmen Varner

Ever since I was a little girl, I adored animals. I was always rather upset that I never had any pets as a child. My father had loads of animals when he was growing up, but that factor never translated to his daughter. Raised with no pets, I yearned for one in my later years.

I eventually moved out of my parents’ house and went to college. After a couple of years in school, my roommate’s family decided to get her a puppy for the holidays. While I was excited at the prospect of a little critter running around, reality sunk in.

Nagging questions raced through my mind. We live in a tiny apartment; how can a dog be happy here? Where will he or she go potty? How much time will this take up? I had so many questions and concerns, because an animal is a huge responsibility, even if the puppy isn’t mine. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | animal companion, relationships
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Expert Series: 7 StepsTo Create Your Best Year
By Alissa Finerman

The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we hit it.

Michelangelo

You’re inspired, motivated, and ready to make a change in your life. You even have some New Year’s resolutions to prove it. Then the dust settles and you realize the term commitment involves the word commit. This requires that you take action. For many of us, there seems to be a disconnect between saying we are going to do something and actually doing it. Well this year it’s going to be different because you have an action plan. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | empowerment, learning, self improvement
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Out Of The Rat Race And Into Bamboo
By Greg Pfeffer

I’m not sure which benchmark in corporate America can be credited as the straw that broke the camel’s back; the final event that caused me to “go bamboo.” The chorus of seemingly uniform co-workers wishing me things like “Happy Friday” and “Somebody could use another cup of coffee!” The almost perverted detail I took in studying the walls of my cubical, attempting to conjure up ideas of how any postcard or picture could ever camouflage the walls of the plastic box I worked in.

Most likely, however, it was the unenthusiastic chatter of my fellow 20-somethings every morning on the R5. IPod in ears, the front page of The Metro shielding their face from the morning glances of their fellow commuters; they are ushered from the suburbs like unwilling passengers on the river Styx. As the doors on the regional rail opened it was as if the hand of Charon himself ushered them off at 30th and Market East, putting on the last leg of their daily journey towards an office, a firm, a corporation somewhere in Center City. I wanted out of this Hades, so I broke free.

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COMMENT (0) | empowerment, thriving, work
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  • Robert Goldsmith: Thank you for sharing that very intimate experience and your story. I’m married to an...
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