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Life Lifter (283 posts)
My kids are obsessed with this song "Don't Give Up." (Yes that would be Bruno Mars singing on Sesame Street.) We sing it to each other all the time, and lately we're having lots of conversations like this: My daughter says, "This is too hard!" And I say, "You're right. Let's give up. I can't color this Diego coloring page. It'll never work. Let's lie on the floor and cry." And a knowing smile spreads across her face and she says, "Nooooo, don't give up! DON'T GIVE UP!" It's a silly game, but I also can't help feeling like it's a kind rehearsal for larger, more give-uppier moments.
I doubt this "Don't Give Up" game would work with anyone over the age of 3, though, so instead I offer: Matt. W.
A reader just sent me the link to this video and oh man. This boy, 9-year-old Matt W., is a total and complete inspiration. Matt, who has spastic cerebral palsy, decided to do the 400-meter run at his school's track-and-field day, apparently on a mission to make everyone in the world's hearts explode out of their chests at once. He runs. He struggles. He runs. And then, his teacher and classmates join him, cheering him on. Now here's a word of warning: you have to stick with this video. There's a stretch in the middle where Matt is running, alone, a bit like a baby deer, and you will think you can't do it. But listen, if this kid can run this race, you can watch this video. Wait for the end. Wait for the little subtitle "It's okay to start crying now. Matt's mom is." If you can even see if through your tears.
Will you ever give up again?
via Yahoo Sports (Thanks, @TheGnombre!)
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--Lilli Leight, 15.
(--Also, Thomas Jefferson.)
No one reads books anymore. Especially not kids and teens. They're all tweetin' and textin' and emoticonning and watching 3-D YouTube videos on their hologram-lenses or whatever it is they do. Or anyway that's the story lately. Then an old-fashioned lady like myself hears about an intrepid young book lover like 15-year-old Lilli Leight and breathes a sigh of relief. Lilli loves books. She loves books so much that she was disturbed when she noticed that the children at the homeless shelter where she volunteered (is she the best kid in the world or what?) automatically turned on the center's TV when they had a free moment. Lilli told Publishers Weekly, " I realized that there were no books available to the children, and that no one ever thought to ask for a book.”
So she did what all 13-year-olds (as she was then) would do: she started a library. On her own. Read the whole article to find out how she acquired over 5,000 books for the homeless kids she works with. And the next time someone bemoans the state of today's youths, think of the library of Lilli Leight.
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As he told Chicago Parent, "This is for my daughter, first and foremost. I want her to see how easy it is to give back to others. I have a newborn, a life outside of work and a full-time job, but it's still easy to do random acts of kindness." Okay, guy. I can't even manage to floss every day, but that's just me. Garcia is on Day 151 of his mission of kindness and hasn't missed a day yet, whether it's donating money to a charity, wearing a color to support a cause, or something more involved like passing out valentines to strangers or making laminated signs for the homeless. Go, Ryan Garcia! Only 215 days until you can start being mean to everyone! (Ed. note: Just kidding.)
The more of Garcia's good works I click through, the more my initial feeling of guilt (so many kind acts!) dissolves into a sense of lightness. He's right. It really is possible to perform one small act of kindness every day, and the key is just that, keeping it small. Donating the extra dollar at the pharmacy register for pediatric cancer; paying a library fine. These really are things every one can do without going broke or having to spend a ton of time, things that can make a little difference in the life of someone else, and will make a big difference in your own life.
Inspired to do some good today? Like or follow Garcia and guess what, he'll donate 10 cents to charity. There, wasn't that easy?
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Men! What are they thinking? We can't always answer that, but we'll be posting our favorite glimpses into their world in this space every Thursday.
* NHL fans: Prepare to get a little bit tearful watching this roundup of the best hockey ads. (Co.Create)
* Raise the stakes on your day by watching Alan Rickman drink tea dramatically. (Kottke.org)
* Confessions from Chris Rock: "For years I didn't miss an episode of Sex and the City. That's probably not something a guy should brag about." (O Magazine)
Vacation inspiration, part one: The Atlas Obscura: a compilation of curious and wondrous travel destinations.
"The internet tastes like a cup of peanut butter pudding and it looks like a star chart." A journey to the center of the internet.
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Vacation inspiration, part two: Quirk up your travel by visiting the World's Largest Things.
The Life-Lifter: Now that's a shopping spree. A Kentucky man spends $200,000 to buy out entire K-Mart store and donates everything to charity.
This hotel in Africa includes unusual breakfast guests with serious charm.
Reprogram your life-GPS and lose that lost feeling.
For anyone who's ever wondered what actually happens when you hit "send" on an email, here is the story. Don't worry, it's in cartoon form.
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Time for a career-change? How about...a bookstore in Paris?
The Life-Lifter: "For all the kindness you've shown me and all the support you've given me over the years, here's one-hundred, two-hundred, three-hundred dollars to put towards your new a/c." A local news station's "$300 Act of Kindness" campaign, in action.
Get your brain into swimsuit shape by reading War and Peace as a tumblr-book-group this summer.
"We must stick up for each other against anyone or anything, and stand by each other in all danger." The Rules of Palship.
In case you missed it, what the annular eclipse looked like. From outer space.
How even the most devoted pessimist can learn the art of optimism. (Hint: it has to do with being kind to yourself.)
Need a chuckle? Tech-support-nerd graffiti.
Monday's got nothing on a manatee: The ocean's most calming animal dispenses soothing wisdom.
The Life-Lifter: Some news from the "No More Excuses" department: this paralyzed woman finished the London Marathon wearing a bionic suit.
Well, here's a dose of inspiration for 70-something-year-old me: Tamae Watanabe just climbed to the summit of the world's tallest mountain (that's Everest, geography whizzkids). She's 73. She broke the standing world record for oldest woman to climb Mount Everest, which had been held by, uh, her. When she was 63. How awesome is this woman? According to the Telegraph, she's scaled "some of the most famous mountains in the world, including no fewer than five of the 14 peaks that are more than 26,246 feet high." My favorite detail about this story comes at the very end of the Telegraph's account: apparently Watanabe has a rival, another septuagenarian climbstress, who is currently in the midst of her own hike to the peak. Maybe this could be a new trend -- extreme retirement for fit ladies. I hope to someday be as bold. And as fit. And as -- check out the photo of Watanabe here -- totally psyched about it all.
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"She Got So Old!"
We all have those moments: you finally get through your evening to-do's and gather up your book and blanket and plop down on the couch for a nice relaxing cup of tea, only to realize you've left the cup of tea in the kitchen. So, if you're anything like me, you sit there and gather up your gumption and just try really extra hard to move your tea with your brain. It never works, does it. Nope, not for me either. So you have to gather up all your remaining energy and launch yourself out of the couch and all the way to the kitchen. Stupid brains, why won't you let us be magic?
But what we rarely take a moment to recognize is how amazing, how magical, what an absolute gift from the universe, to be able to (even if begrudgingly) get up and walk and clutch that tea cup. How there are plenty of people who would give anything to be able to move their bodies just by thinking. Like Cathy Hutchinson, who has been completely paralyzed from the neck down for the past 15 years. PBS reports how, thanks to a robot arm, Cathy just served herself a cup of coffee for the first time since becoming paralyzed. That is to say, Cathy moved this robot arm, which is not attached to her body, with her MIND. This is pretty exciting. It's even more exciting if you watch the video, and see the intense look of concentration on Cathy's face as she THINKS the arm into moving. And it's most exciting when you see Cathy's expression after completing the task: relief, pride at a hard-won triumph, and sheer joy. All from a sip of coffee.
Watch The Future of Prosthetics: Mind-Bending Robotic Arms on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.It's a moment that reminds us of our own daily acts of magic. We may not be able to move things with our brains, but there are brains out there that are figuring out how the people who need to, can. And if you ask me, that's pretty magical.
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Watching your kid's first steps is an emotional, exciting, nothing-like-it experience. But imagine you're a marine, and have been deployed in Afghanistan for seven months. And imagine further, if you will, that your son has cerebral palsy and you have been told he would never walk. This video of a marine's reunion with his son is beyond moving. The grinning kid's determined walk, the big bear hug, the happy little clump of kids as the whole family swarms around Daddy. Hello, hanky.
I find myself chewing over the story between the lines here, thinking about Michael's mother. According to the Jacksonville Daily News, she and her FOUR OTHER CHILDREN all helped Michael learn to walk, and kept it a secret until their father's homecoming. Talk about unsung heroes: This family seems to be full of them.
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