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Credit Card Angel
By Maggie Airncliffe

The city was sweltering under a heat wave that just wouldn’t let up. Before 10 a.m. on the fourth day, the temperature was already nudging 30C. The prospect of another blistering day on the inner city streets was making me cranky. All I wanted was a shady spot on my little balcony, a good book, and a bottomless jug of iced tea.

At the time, I was unofficial ‘street mom’ to a group of kids trying to survive on the margins. Somehow they had adopted me when, on a whim, I’d stopped to offer them a basket of peaches that I’d picked up at the farmer’s market down the block. The fruit disappeared in seconds, but the impression they made on me lingered. The next week, I’d baked up a double batch of cookies, and gone back. Within weeks, I was spending most of my free time with them.

They’d come to accept my presence, true, but gaining their confidence was another matter altogether. Read more

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COMMENTS (6) | children, inspiration, street kids, tolerance
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An Interview With Olivia Newton John
By Michelle Morgan

From clean-cut singer of ‘Country Roads’ to leotard-wearing disco diva in ‘Physical’, Olivia Newton John has had a career that’s spanned nearly five decades.  She is loved by everyone from school children to grandmas and yet still remains as down-to-earth as she ever was.  Here Olivia talks about yoga, life, and her trek along the Great Wall of China….

*******

Say the words Olivia Newton John and most of us will automatically think of her most famous and successful role – that of Sandy in the hit movie ‘Grease’.  But while ‘Grease’ was – and still is – a worldwide phenomenon, there is so much more to Olivia Newton John than dancing with John Travolta. Read more

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COMMENTS (3) | health, self growth, spiritual, thriving
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Fido, My Iranian Soulmate
By Sherveen Ashtari

One of my kindred spirits is a dog. Actually, he’s more than a dog; he’s the owner of one of the most sensitive and biggest hearts I’ve ever known.

I had a very lonely childhood, partly because of my own crippling shyness and quirky personality and interests, but also to a large part because of my circumstances. I was the result of a bi-cultural marriage and was born in a country and to a family unaccustomed and perhaps slightly hostile to outsiders. I was, for a while, the only girl in my extended family, and whenever I was around other children, it was older cousins— always boys— who didn’t mind having an extra ultra-skinny player on their team or someone to put blame on when a prank turned sour. To the rest of the world, especially to other children my age, I was an enigma; too polite, too sensitive and quiet, and always with a book in hand. I was, not surprisingly perhaps, always bullied and picked on. Read more

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COMMENTS (15) | animal companion, animal wisdom
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Twitter Saved My Life
By Salvatore Stefanile

I’m not really much of a Twitter guy and rarely use it to ramble random life musings. I mainly use Twitter to follow Dan Harmon, Kurt Sutter, Norm Macdonald and pretty much every sports Twitter feed imaginable.

I never imagined I’d stick with Twitter for long. Figured I’d just sign up, check it out and delete my account eventually.

Was I ever wrong.

On April 15 of 2010, Twitter helped save my life.

One of the most prolific writers of today’s generation is Deadspin writer Drew Magary. I don’t know where he gets the time to write for all the publications he does, not to mention write a book, too. I give him credit for that. He was one of the first people I followed on Twitter.

He kept complaining how he needed to lose 50 pounds and instead of just bitching about it to faceless internet followers, he came up with a plan:  announce to the world how much he weighed and keep people on Twitter informed of his progress.

He dubbed his plan the #twitterpublichumiliationdiet. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | empowerment, self growth, weight loss
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John Volken’s Welcome Home Program: A Second Chance For Addicts
By Emily Rose

I always thought faith was the ability to believe in something that cannot be proven, some intangible element woven into our lives like threads we can sense, but never see.

As I grew older my belief in faith was questioned, as is often the case for people during difficult times. It has only been recently that I learned there is much more to faith than finding the answers to questions that are not based on evidence.

Real faith takes courage and trust. Often, it requires the helping hands of others to provide you with faith when your own supply is running low. And, as I learned during an evening spent with John Volken, real faith takes determination, and the desire to succeed. Read more

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COMMENTS (4) | addiction, healing, self growth, service, spiritual
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Expert Series: Learning To Live My Light
By Amara Rose

One of the hallmarks of any spiritual journey is that at some point, you will be asked to surrender who you think you are. The Call seldom comes in an obvious form. For me, the invitation to reawaken to my true essence, to reclaim the sacred feminine within myself, wore a brilliant disguise: debilitating arm pain. I was being asked to lay down my arms, to relinquish all the roles I’d been taught that had enabled me to arm myself against knowing who I am, in order to embrace something I couldn’t outwardly touch.

It was a colossal summons. And I wasn’t willing to answer — at least, not without putting the caller on hold a few times, letting it go to voicemail, or pretending I’d erased the message.

I lost the use of my arms for over a year at the start of 1993. The pain had been building for some time but, stoked on my burgeoning marketing communications business, piano lessons, and a ninety-miles-an-hour lifestyle that spelled “freedom” from the drudgery of nine-to-five, I ignored the warning signs. I was too busy; business was too good. Read more

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COMMENTS (4) | enlightenment, health, self growth, self realization
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Snowflakes
By Joanne Lovering

Snowflakes came into our lives unexpectedly. The day before Snowflake’s birth, my little boy said to me, “Bobalink is going to have some babies.” Bobalink is our female tabby cat. At the time, she was actually our 7-month old tabby kitten. We had not spayed her yet because my friend Jane had only recently rescued her from a neighbour’s garage. I had not noticed her swelling tummy. I contradicted my 10-year-old son at first, but on closer look my “no” turned to “maybe.” The next day my “maybe” turned to a “well lookie there.” Three precious lumps appeared in her box. Snowflakes was one of them, so named because the white markings on the back of his mostly black body looked like snowflakes. Kind of.

Unfortunately, Snowflakes’ mother did not favour him. He had a few good weeks of nursing alongside his sister (the third kitten did not live long) and then suddenly, his mother was done with him. One day she grabbed him by the top of his head and tossed him out of the box. His sister was still welcome to snuggle and feed, but not Snowflakes.  So, Snowflakes grew up fast. And strong. And independent. Read more

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COMMENTS (3) | animal companion, animal wisdom, humour
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The Day My Life Was Saved
By Patrick P. Stafford

Nothing tastes as bad as the Indian Ocean. Not turpentine. Not rotten eggs. Not sulphur. And certainly not soap, cod-liver oil or mud! Especially not when you are in the middle of it, swallowing and choking on heaps of it, and it is mercilessly drowning you. The Indian Ocean.

And that’s where I was, although not really in the middle of it, but only a few miles out from shore, off the coast of Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1974. Thrashing wildly to breathe and stay afloat and fighting desperately for my life. And slowly, inexorably…drowning in the beautiful, sunlit waves of an inhospitable Indian Ocean. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | learning, miracle, spiritual
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Independent Women: Is It Us?
By Acamea Deadwiler

I was recently seeing a guy whom I had made plans to meet for our third date.  I decided to catch the train 30 minutes away to Chicago in order to avoid the notorious traffic. In discussing our “plan” we spoke of the time I would need him to have me back at the train station in order to return home, when he said, “That’s if you go back home tonight.” I replied jokingly, but dead serious, “Oh, I’m coming back home tonight.” His response was a snide, “You independent women.”

Now, I am a well-educated 31-year-old with no kids, a successful career, a very nice place of dwelling, and a luxury vehicle. I am, by all accounts, every bit of an independent woman. But the way he said it… He just made it sound so dirty, so stigmatized. He said “independent women” as if there were something wrong with it. As if, it was something to be ashamed of. That was the first time I’d heard being an independent woman spoken of in such a condescending manner, and it really made me think. It made me wonder if being independent has become an undesirable characteristic in the eyes of men. Read more

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COMMENTS (5) | empowerment, self worth
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Saying ‘Yes’ To My Anxiety
By Billie Criswell

I know it sounds a little strange saying “yes” to anxiety, but so often it is easier to stuff issues away rather than face them head on. That was the relationship between me and my anxiety. It would crop up, catch me by surprise, and I would shout, “No, no, no!” And this became the pattern of my behavior… get anxious, get annoyed that I’m anxious, reject it, and fail to deal with it. Something had to change between us. Someone had to give, and that someone was me. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | anxiety, empowerment, self improvement
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Expert Series: A Personal Perspective On Addiction
By Dr. Barbara Sinor

My motivation for writing Tales of Addiction and Inspiration for Recovery came as I was completing Addiction: What’s Really Going On? Inside a Heroin Treatment Program which is coauthored with my friend and colleague Deborah McCloskey. It also comes from my personal experience of living with an alcoholic father and again in my adulthood while coping with an alcoholic son. While researching the field of drug and alcohol addiction, it has become clear that more effort is needed to fully understand the plight of our addiction population, as well as, how this population can help guide younger generations toward the freedom of sobriety through the sharing of their own personal stories. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | addiction, alcoholic, children, drugs, parenting
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The Art Of Mistakes
By Heather Klem

As recovering people, stripped of our destructive defenses and damaging coping mechanisms, we face overwhelming uncertainty. Who are we? Where do we fit into this complicated thing we call life? The most basic decisions confound us.

Beneath this cloud of confusion lies a thick sediment of fear. As a recovering perfectionist, the relentless terror of making a mistake has stalked me through much of my formative years and into my adult life. It is a painful brand of insecurity that stretches from the most basic option offered to me in a given circumstance — paper or plastic at the checkout line — to actual major life decisions, like whether or not a given job opportunity is right for me. Frozen in the paint aisle of Home Depot, the prospect of choosing a color for my living room could lock me in agonizing uncertainty, terrified that Downy was not preferable to Dover White. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | empowerment, self realization
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The Oldest Person On The Bus
By Joseph Longo

My 65th birthday was looming.

For the last ten years on my birthdays I always pushed myself to do something extremely physical, something to confirm that I wasn’t getting old, like climbing a heart-pumping incline usually somewhere in the Santa Monica Mountains. For my 65th, I wanted to do something that would push my physical limits because this birthday was bumming me out. For many, 65 means retirement, the end of the road, a sedentary imprisonment. When my parents were 65 they were old people, exhausted, tired from a life of hard work. I did not want to be tired and old. I wanted to be active and alive. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | aging, hiking, inspiration
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Chocolate
By Mary Holland Woodward

As a baby, I could have died from my medical condition which was not well-understood.

Classic Galactosemia had already taken the lives of most – if not all – similarly-diagnosed babies before me.

Classic Galactosemia primarily affects the health of the liver and kidneys.

Mom and Dad were told early-on that, even if I lived beyond a few months or years, I would be severely developmentally disabled. After 47 years in this life, I can tell you, “I’m not!”

In my own non-technical lingo, here’s what I’ve learned so far about Galactosemia:

It’s the simple sugar galactose that is the culprit. I don’t have the enzyme GALT (galactose-1-phosphate uridyl transferase) that is present in most healthy bodies to naturally convert the simple sugar galactose into the simple sugar glucose.

I grew-up knowing that I should never eat anything containing the simple-sugar lactose. I could never eat chocolate! Read more

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COMMENTS (5) | Galactosemia, health, thriving
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