Category Archives: Positive thoughts

From a polio stricken lady about wheelchairs and freedom

Terry Austin received his first wheelchair as a gift from the United States nonprofit organisation March of Dimes that works to improve the health of mothers and babies.

Growing up, going to church every Sunday was one of those never-miss activities for her family. She loved church because that’s where her friends would be. Her father was always her pastor.  Her father was a large man. He fought with the Marines in World War II and was wounded in the battle of Iwo Jima. He was the strongest man she ever knew, and she had a healthy fear, whether he was around or not.

When she was so young that the doctors had no conscience memory in her adult brain, she saw so many. Her earliest memories were of Dr. Matchett, an orthopedic surgeon who was assigned the task of helping her regain what she had lost to polio. She says

I remember him because of his gruff bedside manner. His training included treating wounded soldiers on the European battlefield during the war. {Prescription for the Church}

She dreaded visits to Dr. Matchett because he scared her.

His grey hair was perfectly coifed into a one-inch flat top, and he barked out orders to his nurse as if he were still a Colonel in the Army. Every time he saw me, he would grab my crooked foot, twist it straight, and say to my mom,

“This is the way it should look, and when he’s old enough, I’m going to fix it.”

It was painful; I hated it. When I turned 17, he did what he promised and fixed both of my feet, and made it possible for me to wear normal shoes. Prescription for the Church

Several years later she recognises

As painful as it was visiting Dr. Matchett if it were not for him repairing my feet and other stuff he did with my spine, I wouldn’t be here today. He knew what was needed for me to live to old age. The gruff doctor had a special place in our family, and we learned that when he said something was needed, we should listen. Years later, when he died, my mother sent his obituary to me, and I’ll admit, I grieved. Prescription for the Church

It was a few days before she started first grade in the small town of Eads in southeastern Colorado that she received her first wheelchair. Up until that time, the only way she could move around was to crawl on the floor or have someone carry her. Even having a wheelchair, she did not experience complete mobility. Stairs were always a problem, and her polio-weakened arms didn’t allow her to get too far away or traverse difficult terrain.

She writes

Things improved some when I was eleven and began walking on crutches. I continued to use a wheelchair for school and other times that required walking long distances, but now freedom was greater. Whenever Sharon would drag me shopping, I often waited in the car, which could be a long wait. When we went to the mall, I would typically walk in and find a central location where I could watch other folks shopping. {How to Live Free}

For her freedom came in the form of an electric wheelchair.

For the first time in my life, I was free to go places without help, without stopping to rest, and without worrying about a fall. Freedom is great. I didn’t especially enjoy shopping, but I did enjoy following Sharon up and down the store aisles and wandering around the mall. Conference Centers and parks were now a part of my world. Freedom is a great thing. {How to Live Free}

Read more: > How to Live Free

In that article she directs our attention to what we call the “Ten Commandments” within the context of freedom. She agrees that it seems strange to associate freedom with what we have always understood are binding rules. She writes:

Every preacher, worth his weight in communion wafers, has preached a series of sermons on keeping God’s commandments with a heavy emphasis on obedience. Obeying them certainly brings blessings, but they are still rules.

But let’s rethink this for a moment. The Israelites had been enslaved people for ten generations. They knew how to live according to rules imposed on them by a master. The last thing that would have interested them was more rules.

Jesus specifically did not come to “abolish” what they considered the law. He was there to “fulfill” or complete it. In other words, to bring it to complete fulfillment. Listen to what He said. Free people don’t murder because they have no need to be angry. Free people don’t commit adultery because they’re free from the lust after another man’s wife. Free people have no need to lie because the truth is enough. Free people don’t need revenge because God has given them everything they need.

When we are free from stuff, we are free from greed, anger, covetousness, and all the other emotions that separate us from others. We like to tell people that God is all we need, yet we live as if we are enslaved to other stuff. It’s inconsistent to say God has set me free, but it really makes me angry when you disagree with me, or I’m jealous of what you have, etc. We find ourselves living like the Israelites after leaving Egypt, wishing for what we left behind. {How to Live Free}

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The purpose of this glorious life…

Dutch version / Nederlandse versie: Het doel van dit glorieuze leven…



    The purpose of this glorious life is not simply to endure it ,
    but to soar , stumble and flourish as you learn to fall in love
    with existence.
    We were born to live my dear not to merely exist ..

    ~ Becca Lee ~

    Art by Julie Marriott

            Text and image source: Serendipity Corner

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            Teen transforms chip bags into blankets

            By taking discarded chip bags and turning them into blankets, a 12-year-old girl in Wales is helping both people in need and the environment. Alyssa started her project in August 2021, and in the last year has collected almost 10,000 chip bags to make 200 blankets. She works on them after school, and said it takes about an hour to finish a blanket.

            “Each packet has to be opened out so it’s flat and then washed in the sink,”

            Alyssa told BBC News.

            “Then you take four of them, put them under a piece of baking paper, and iron them so that the heat fuses them together. Finally, you sandwich the … packets between two thin sheets of clear plastic, and you use the iron again to seal that in place.”

            Chip bags aren’t easy to recycle, Alyssa said, and she’s happy to have found another use for the packaging while helping others. Alyssa and her mother give the blankets — along with gloves, socks, toothpaste, and other essentials — to local organizations in Wales that can distribute the items to people who are homeless.

            “You wouldn’t think you could turn a crisp packet into something so helpful,”

            Alyssa told BBC News, but people “like the blankets because they’re really lightweight and waterproof.” [BBC News]

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            Bird and birdsong encounters improve mental health, study finds

            Research suggests visits to places with birdlife could be prescribed by doctors to improve mental wellbeing

            One swallow may not make a summer but seeing or hearing birds does improve mental wellbeing, researchers have found.

            The study, led by academics from King’s College London, also found that everyday encounters with birds boosted the mood of people with depression, as well as the wider population.

            The researchers said the findings suggested that visits to places with a wealth of birdlife, such as parks and canals, could be prescribed by doctors to treat mental health conditions. They added that their findings also highlighted the need to better protect the environment and improve biodiversity in urban, suburban and rural areas in order to preserve bird habitats.

            Full story here

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            The power of random acts of kindness

            Shuhua Xiong

            The power of random acts of kindness

            Warm words from a stranger. A free cup of coffee. An unexpected ride home. Random acts of kindness such as these can have a powerful effect on their recipient — one that may be underestimated by the perpetrator, according to research published last month.

            “People tend to think that what they are giving is kind of little, maybe it’s relatively inconsequential,”

            said one of the study’s authors, Amit Kumar.

            “But recipients are less likely to think along those lines. They consider the gesture to be significantly more meaningful because they are also thinking about the fact that someone did something nice for them.”

            There may be a social cost to underestimating those acts, he warned:

            “Not knowing one’s positive impact can stand in the way of people engaging in these sorts of acts of kindness in daily life.”

            That kindness boosts well-being is hardly new. Studies have shown that voluntarily helping others can help lower people’s stress levels. Simple acts of connection, like texting a friend, mean more than many of us realize. But researchers who study kindness and friendship say they hope the findings strengthen the case for making these types of gestures more often.

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            Reasons to be cheerful

            By Maire Bonheim,
            Gannet smashes through water off Shetland Islands at 100kmph

            A frosty sunrise over the Gwda River in Poland, an entrant for the Royal Meteorological Society’s Weather Photographer of the Year 2022 competition. Click the image to see 20 spellbinding photographs. Credit: Krzysztof Tollas

            This week, scientists revealed that dogs cry tears of joy when their owners return home. It’s a sign of how close the human-pooch relationship can be: they become overwhelmed with emotion due to the release of oxytocin, the cuddle hormone.

            Adults are advised to do 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, but many people don’t reach this target, especially in older age. Luckily, a 10-minute daily walk in your 80s could be enough to save your life, a new study suggests. And here’s how you can turn a walk into a health-boosting workout.

            A “hidden” Van Gogh masterpiece has been recreated, 135 years after the celebrated artist painted over it. An X-ray showed that Van Gogh created a portrait of two nude wrestlers, but later reused the canvas and painted a floral still life. Now, two British scientists have revealed what the original masterpiece would have looked like using X-rays, Artificial Intelligence and 3D-printing.

            Researchers from Oxford University have “definitively” debunked the belief that statins cause aches and pains, according to a “monumental” new study. Instead, any muscle pain experienced is likely a natural side effect of ageing. Statins can significantly lower cholesterol and cut the risk of heart attacks, so this is great news for GPs, who can now reassure their patients about the potential side effects.

            Brittany and Briana, who grew up in Delaware in the United States, are identical twins who always dreamed of marrying a pair of identical twins. So they set off for the annual Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio, and found their dream match. Now they all live together in a house in Virginia with their ‘quaternary twin’ sons. The photos are… discombobulating.

            Finally, Rosie Millard is living my utopian life. She decided that a year in Provence simply wasn’t long enough – and bought a home just outside the village of Ménerbes. Her delightful story is what Francophile dreams are made of.



            Do you have painful creaky knees

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            Flight operated by all-Black women crew honours Bessie Coleman

            In celebration of aviation trailblazer Bessie Coleman, a recent American Airlines flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Phoenix was staffed entirely by Black women, from the pilots to the cargo team. In the aviation industry, less than 1 percent of pilots are Black women, and that‘s why Captain Beth Powell said she was

            “beyond thrilled to be part of the crew where we are inspiring young girls, young girls of color, to see the various roles that these women play in every aspect to make this flight possible.”

            In 1921, Coleman became the first Black woman to earn her pilot’s license, after she learned French and traveled to Paris to attend the Caudron Brothers School of Aviation. She went on to fly in air shows, dazzling crowds with her dangerous tricks. Coleman died in a plane crash in 1926 at age 34, before she was able to fulfill her dream of opening a flight school for Black pilots. Her great-niece, Gigi Coleman, was a passenger on the American Airlines flight, and said she was “grateful” to have the opportunity to

            “highlight my great-aunt’s accomplishments in the field of aviation.”

            25 Aug 2022


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            Being cheerful on the outside can help you – and others – feel it on the inside

            Being cheerful on the outside can help you – and others – feel it on the inside

            Cheerfulness can boost your energy levels, even in tough times – as philosophers and writers have long recognised

            The surest sign of wisdom is a constant cheerfulness,” wrote the French philosopher Michel de Montaigne in the 16th century. “Be cheerful,” commands Prospero – arguably the wisest of all of Shakepeare’s characters – in The Tempest. Yet the impact of cheerfulness – and the power it gives us to get through difficult moments in our lives – is hard to define and easy to disregard or dismiss, even as we strive to be happy.

            • Cheerfulness is a psychological and emotional resource
            • Cheerfulness differs from happiness
            • Cheerfulness is not optimism
            • Cheerfulness is also seen as the antidote to melancholy

            Full story here

            In Self and wellbeing Philosophy by Donna Ferguson

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            Looking on the bright side of life can bring some welcome benefits

            Looking on the bright side of life can bring some welcome benefits

            Katherine Lovage<br> By Katherine Lovage,
            The Telegraph
            Humankind has explored every trick in the book when it comes to living longer. Eat the right foods, speed up your steps… and now there’s evidence that a sunny disposition can increase your lifespan too.

            Over four decades, Harvard University tracked the lives of 160,000 women and assessed their levels of hope and optimism using a ‘Life Orientation Test’. The sizeable study produced some striking results.

            Participants who scored highly for optimism lived on average four years longer, were better able to deal with stressful situations and were more likely to embrace a healthy lifestyle. (You can read about the findings here.)

            Since one’s optimism is said to start to fade around the age of nine, perhaps we might all benefit from some positivity fine-tuning. But how do you make a change – especially if you’re hardwired as a pessimist?

            Luckily, there are some tried and tested steps that you can take to foster optimism.

            Before you go to sleep, try reflecting on what went well in your day and then thinking about something you’re looking forward to. Mindfulness is useful too, so here’s a helpful five-minute-a-day breathing exercise.

            You could also try “positive reframing”. This involves stopping for a moment when you’re expecting a catastrophe and picturing two other outcomes: one neutral and one positive. This way, you remember there are several possible conclusions to a situation – not everything is set in stone.

            It reminds me of a quote from country music legend Willie Nelson: “Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.”

            As a side note, if you’d like to read a book to help you hone your optimism, I’d greatly recommend Benjamin Hoff’s The Tao of Pooh. It’s both meaningful and quite charming.

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            What matter most in life


            QUOTE OF THE DAY

            “Life is beautiful, and I’ve always lived it to the full.
            I love art, music, good food and the finest wine.
            All of these things, and the people around you are what matter most in life.”

            – D-Day pilot Harry Gamper who celebrated his 102nd birthday attributes his long life to a love of fine wine.


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            Truly, Truly – a #freeverse #poem by Leona

            Life and Times of a Quirky Character

            Prayers my heart starts to

            mumble as the dew

            forms graceful drops

            across the eyelashes

            of the late summer trees

            It sprang to mind the hopeful

            and expectant posture of

            a bride in waiting


            oil filled lanterns

            how we see the changing times

            only to be reminded that

            in life there is death

            in love there is loss

            truly truly say to you

            the barren garden will

            blossom as the noon day


            creeps along the ground

            there in the slanting rays

            it is easy to remember that

            goodness and favor

            does come to those

            who wait as the tides

            change and the earth


            Have I finally found my home?

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            about these things

            “Summer is a period of luxurious growth. To be in harmony with the atmosphere of summer, awaken early in the morning and reach to the sun for nourishment to flourish as the gardens do. Work, play, travel, be joyful, and grow into selfless service. The bounty of the outside world enters and enlivens us.” -Paul Pitchford

            Photo by Marge McCoy

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            Spiritual Dance


            When I was little I loved to skate. I used wheels, but spent whole afternoons in the garage doing pirouettes. There was not enough time, just as space was never enough. I had my parents take me to a place where there was very smooth asphalt and I stayed there for hours. I was made of that joy that knows no tiredness. Today I know it's called the Spirit, but it doesn't change much. The point is not the concepts, but what you feel when you do something. Because if you lose track of time, if you fall and have fun, if you just think about it, if you improve for the sake of it, without programs, and free yourself in your dance ... there is little to do. That is your kingdom. There is something there that (re) calls you and connects you to much more. When looking for…

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            Optimism & morality of hope

            A morality of hope lives in the belief that we can change the world for the better,
            and without certain theological beliefs it is hard to see where hope could come from, if not from optimism.
            Optimism and hope are not the same.
            Optimism is the belief that the world is changing for the better;
            hope is the belief that, together, we can make the world better.
            Optimism is a passive virtue, hope an active one.It needs no courage to be an optimist,
            but it takes a great deal of courage to hope.The Hebrew Bible is not an optimistic book.
            It is, however, one of the great literatures of hope.

            ~ Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, from his book, To Heal a Fractured World

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            When I started to pay careful attention to things

            ”When I started to notice the little things around me,
            I realized that I always berating myself.
            Not being like others,
            not being like the brilliant minds,
            not having talent.
            But when I started to pay careful attention to things,
            I realized I do have a talent..”

            ~ Looking At My Life Pattern”


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            People need people

            People need people,
            we just have to pray that people choose the right people
            and don’t let the good get beaten down into invisibility
            which is the cruelest state to put a soul in by the scum of the earth:
            wolves in sheep’s clothing.

            Catherine Vaughan

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            You’re Not That Young

            Jewish Young Professional

            From Living Poetry

            At first, you look forward to the fertile days. You let your hopes fly recklessly, like helium balloons into the atmosphere. You imagine yourself glowing, growing beautifully round and radiant. You let yourself dream of nurseries and names.

            Two weeks later, you feel the too familiar twist of emotional knife-sharp monthly cramps stabbing your womb and heart. Another month, another moon gone, like the egg from your uterus in a bloody river of wasted potential.

            The sun, once bright with promise, becomes glaringly harsh. The discarded days collect into years you don’t have.

            Moon, a wasted egg.

            The suns toll like taunting bells.

            Fewer days remain.


            Living Poetry, Go Dog Go Cafe, W3, Twiglets

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            A to Zen of Life

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            Beautiful endings

            Nothing is eternal except the Divine Creator. We human beings all have a beginning and an end, and best make all the best of the time when we are here alive on this planet.

            We also best enjoy the good things of this earth and appreciate those around us who are willing to share their love with us.

            Sliver of Darkness

            Enjoy things while they last, because everything ends. Death and the nature of humans promise just that, endings. My grandfather lost my grandmother at old age, he had three wives, but he wept for losing one.

            Still, that was a beautiful ending. I love beautiful endings. Pray for a beautiful ending, not eternity, because that doesn’t exist.

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            Pesach not only an evocation of the divine redemption

            Pesach is not only an evocation of the divine redemption that occurred more than 3000 years ago,
            but also celebrates our commitment to work to bring us closer
            to that utopia of harmony and fraternity among all that Adonai has chosen.
            (Many will be called few the chosen).

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