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This Little Light Of Mine
By Christine Durrant

You know that song, “This Little Light of Mine”? That’s my “theme song”. I’m Chris and I’d like to share my light with you.

My childhood was horrendous. My father was an animal lover but as far as humans, he was a tyrant. He was a raging alcoholic, extreme racist and just plain rotten to society. He was afraid of no one and always ready for a fight. He would do so much for animals but abused and neglected his family. I’m not here to judge him or dwell on his behavior, I am sure he has his demons and I’m sad about that but I’m just trying to paint the picture. He was violent and unpredictable and I would hide in the closet, usually with one of our dogs. He would never hurt an animal so I was usually safe with one of them. My love for animals blossomed from this life I was stuck in. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | animal companion, animal wisdom, children, learning, self growth
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You Are Enough
By Heather Klem

When I was a high school freshman I was tender and malformed.

I ached for acceptance and validation. I had received the message, as many of us had, in our formative years that we must always be in the business of doing more and doing it better. Behaviors were moralized and the nebulous “good enough” always seemed right outside my grasp, just beyond the next honor roll or cheerleading squad slot. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | bulling, children, enlightenment, learning, self growth
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Reflections On A Loveless Childhood
By Mike Harvey - 87 Years Young

I found myself in a predicament. I’d volunteered to clean the washroom before accepting the lift home I’d been offered. I threw a pail of dirty water down the toilet; flushed it and proceeded into the strange building. Eventually I found my way into the parking areas. The people who’d offered me the ride home had vanished.

Perturbed at this I walked around the back to another empty parking lot. Nothing! Not a soul or a vehicle in sight. The building I returned to was empty so I turned heel and proceeded down the nearest street. The only living thing I spied was a grey cat. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | children, parenting
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From Ukraine With Love
By Diane Schachter

It is a result of coincidence that I am writing this story about a unique family.   I met Cathy while chatting at a local dog park this past spring.  She spontaneously shared that she and her husband Martin had adopted five children from Ukraine.  “Five kids, that’s a lot of kids,” I remember saying.  But it was not until the ride home that it dawned on me that their story could possibly be a story for Thrive In Life. Too late, I had no phone number or knowledge as to where she lived. She was not present during any subsequent visits to the park.  Now, here is where the coincidence part comes in.  In autumn, I was taking the bus to the airport and just before I was about to dismount, I overheard a man saying to the person beside him that he and his wife had adopted five children from Ukraine.  My antennae went up and I quickly asked if his wife’s name was Cathy, and could I have their phone number.  He looked at me quizzically and provided the information on a small borrowed piece of paper as we exited the bus. Read more

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COMMENTS (7) | adoption, children, parenting, siblings
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Ailynne
By John Edward Casteele

It’s a moment like no other.

Seeing your child for the first time on an ultrasound is a major event in any expectant parent’s life; you can actually see that little living piece of you, knowing that he or she is real. Unfortunately, not every child shown on an ultrasound is actually all right.  My girlfriend and I had to learn this the hard way.

It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm.  Everything that you could possibly ask for in early spring.  It was the day that we were scheduled for our first ultrasound, and we were both nervous and excited.  The image of my child came up on the monitor and I was blown away… until the woman running the machine told us that something was wrong.  She wasn’t picking up a heartbeat, and the baby’s heart should have started beating a few weeks ago.  The image on the monitor that my world had briefly revolved around tore my world apart. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | children, grief, parenting, relationships, renewal
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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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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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I Always Will
By Paige Lougheed - 16 Years Old

I was there the night my sister nearly killed herself.

Sitting down on our cushy chocolate brown couch, I clicked half-heartedly through the channels on our old, beat-up box television. The T.V. had been a gift from one of our old friends. At the time I had thought it generous of him to donate an entire TV. to us for no reason– but now as I stared at its rickety frame and poor signal, I wondered if his motivation was really genuine kindness, or him just using our house as storage space.

As the screen flicked from the family channel to the evening news in the living room, I listened through the thin walls of our basement suite to my mother’s and sister’s argument, coming from the bedroom my sister and I shared. Read more

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COMMENTS (5) | anger management, children, communication, parenting, relationships
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Therapy Dogs Are A Reader’s Best Friend
By Hannah Sutherland

On her regular Friday-morning shift, Katie walks into White Rock Elementary and is greeted by the excited students she has come to help read.

She has two associates in tow – 200-pound, three-foot-tall Chewbacca, whose head could compete with the size of most watermelons, and nine-year-old Dougal, who has been known to sit on students when she senses they are having a rough day.

Despite having a bad back and sight in just one eye – not to mention being a dog – there is no doubting Katie’s ability to engage young learners. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | animal companion, animal training, children, learning
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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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Thriving In The Classroom
By Bev Schellenberg

A revolution is underway in our classrooms. No one’s walking around with pithy statements on picket signs; no one’s blasting headlines across newspapers. But the reality is our school system is undergoing a monumental transition, and you may not even know it. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | children, education, empowerment
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Taking Mental Illness Out Of The Shadows, And Into The Light
By Lindsay Thompson

My Personal Story: Learning To Thrive With Schizophrenia

I remember with haunting clarity my first time on a psychiatric ward. I was 17 and scared and confused. My Mom brought me into emergency where I was admitted and brought upstairs to the psychiatric floor. It was night time and walking down that long, dark hallway to my room, catching glances from the other patients induced a fear and loneliness I’ll never forget. I cried all night. The next day, although, still scared and desperate to go home, I was less afraid. The ward was bright and the patients were “regular” people. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | children, empowerment, mental illness, parenting, thriving
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I Love Lucy…The Sweetest Dog In The World
By Dorothy Beavington

Christmas, 1945.  My mother and I stand in a long line-up on Christmas Eve to pay a bill.  I cling to her side, a tired and cranky six year old.  I want to go home.  I hate this Christmas.  Daddy won’t be with us.  Daddy built a sailboat with my cousin, Johnny.  They called it “The Skylark” and took it for its maiden voyage on Chestermere Lake, just outside of Calgary.  It was the Labour Day weekend,  Sunday, September 2nd.  A wind came up, the boat turned over.

Daddy wasn’t a strong swimmer. Johnny made it to shore.  He looked back, saw his uncle Kit was in trouble, and went back for him. They both drowned, caught in the weeds in the lake. Read more

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COMMENTS (4) | animal companion, children, loss
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The Happiness Formula
By Beth Rowles Scott

PINCH ME. Why pinch me? So I can be sure that this happiness I feel is not a dream, that my life has really changed so much since I was a fat little girl in Saskatchewan.

Growing up, losing my fatness and leaving my home province was sometimes fun, sometimes painful, often challenging. There were times when I would experience happiness, but then I would lose it again.

But I’ve had enough sightings of this elusive, mysterious happiness to give me a formula. Perhaps you have found your own way to happiness. But if you have not, do taste the ingredients of the Pinch Me happiness brew. May they serve you well!

 A FORMULA FOR HAPPINESS

To be happy you need these three things: someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | aging, children, service, thriving
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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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  • sariah: I wept as I read your story. I am currently learning to detach as well after 20 years of marriage to an...
  • LaVora: Good luck, N. My experience may not be yours. However, I deeply believe that happiness is our birthright. You...
  • nk: Lavora, I am exactly here in my marriage – trying to turn it around. Rgds, N
  • Suzanne: Hi Martin and Cathy. Watched your documentary. You are a wonderful family. Everyone has their struggles, no...
  • admin: Thank you for letting us know. The link is now set to the their new WEB page. We have our dog from them.
  • Linda Jane Riley: About a year ago I was forced to take a step back from all things related to alcoholism. My...
  • SHerry: Your link to the rescue adoption site is for sale with no other info on the dogs.
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  • TJ: Thank You!!! Like “judy” commented above my mind was racing and I felt out of control… My life...
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  • Wendy Noer: I felt like I was there, good story Melodee, keep writing. Let me know when you finish another one.
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  • Sherveen Ashtari: I never forget kind and terrific people, Alex!! :) I actually beat you to it and sent you an email...
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