Sunday, May 27, 2012

Ah Love! Isaac Lamb's Viral Live Lip-Dub Proposal

Sometimes I come across something that is too good to not share, especially when it deals with love.

Isaac Lamb, a Portland, Oregon actor, staged one of the most touching marriage proposals I have ever seen:  he decided to surprise his girlfriend- choreographer Amy Frankel - by enlisting 60 family and friends to a live lip-dub proposal. Choreographed to the song Bruno Mars' "Marry Me", he had his brother set her up in the back of a Honda CRV and the show began. All you romantics out there will need a Kleenex.

There have been some comments on Youtube, and elsewhere, claiming it's a Honda commercial, but no, this is absolutely for real. Lamb had no clue it would go viral, but it now has well over 1 million views. 

It's just very sweet, and there is nothing better than a good dose of love!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Change Your Attitude, Change Your Life

I received this a long time ago while it was making its email rounds. I'm not sure who wrote it, and whether it's based on an actual person, but it's wonderfully inspirational. It's all about choosing to see everything that happens to us in a positive light.

That's the amazing thing about life. We do have the power to make our lives good ones, regardless of our circumstances, and it all has to do with attitude.

We always have the choice to see the cup half full, or half empty. Make the right choice.

John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, 'If I were any better, I would be twins!'

He was a natural motivator.

If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, 'I don't get it!' 'You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?'

He replied, 'Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood.' Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or...I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or...I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.

'Yeah, right, it's not that easy,' I protested.

'Yes, it is,' he said. 'Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life.'

I reflected on what he said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it. Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.

I saw him about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, 'If I were any better, I'd be twins...Wanna see my scars?' I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

'The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter,' he replied. 'Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or...I could choose to die. I chose to live.'

'Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?' I asked.

He continued, '...the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man'. I knew I needed to take action.'

'What did you do?' I asked. 'Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,' said John. 'She asked if I was allergic to anything 'Yes, I replied.' The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Gravity'' Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.'

He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude...I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.' Matthew 6:34

After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Hazards of Reusable Grocery Tote Bags

Many people are trying to be eco-conscious and 'green' minded these days so we tag along our plastic or cloth reusable grocery tote bags to our local grocery store, Whole Foods or farmers market hoping to save the landfills from more paper (or plastic if the store still uses it).  But something many people don't realize is that those good intentions can also jeopardize our health. Most of us don't know (I certainly didn't) that those bags can be incubators for food borne illnesses, and that it's very important to clean and disinfect the bags often.  According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, only one in six people do it regularly. Apparently, this is non-negotiable if you want to make sure you don't cross-contaminate food.
"I think a lot of people are trying to be mindful and eco-friendly by using their totes and they are not realizing that a lot of cross-contamination with the foods they are buying is actually happening directly because of the totes and the canvas material that they are made from," said Registered Dietician and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics national Spokesperson Marjorie Nolan.
Food can make you very sick if you are not careful about how you handle, prepare and store it. I guess we can now add reusable grocery bags to the equation.

Nolan explains the different ways that we can contaminate our bags, that I frankly never even thought about.
"One is as simple as setting your bag down on the floor or on dirty counter tops," Nolan said. "Also, when you think about perishable goods, they sweat especially in the heat or the summertime when you are transporting your groceries. So the sweat from dairy products or eggs as well as meats, especially raw meats is highly contaminable."

Okay, so now we know how, what can we do to prevent it?

It's recommended that you wash the bags, often, with soapy, hot water, by hand or in the washing machine. You might even want to use a bleach, or disinfectant on the inside of the plastic ones.

Disinfect the areas you place the bags, i.e. kitchen counters.

Wrap all meats, fish etc in thick plastic bags before you put them in your tote, you might also want to double plastic bag them. Of course, that kind of takes away from the whole attempt at being eco-friendly, but better safe than sick. And it's even more preferable if you relegated one bag solely for raw meat and fish products. I'd disinfect those particular bags immediately after use.

The website Home Food Safety also recommends not leaving the totes in your car, which I do.

Lots to think about.  Off I go to retrieve my Costco coolbag from my trunk to disinfect it.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Herbs For Sunburn Relief

Summer is almost upon us, at least for those in the Northern Hemisphere; although this year- for some- it already feels like summer. With the hot summer months come vacations and those lazy days hanging out in the sun in your backyard, or at a park or pool, or on a towel on a sandy beach. Some sun is good, we need daily doses to stock up on our Vitamin D which is a very necessary preventative for many diseases, but too much can create all sorts of health issues from sunburn to skin cancer to premature aging.

The average person only needs about 10 to 20 minutes a day of sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. However, the actual amount needed depends on where you live, and your skin type.  Fair skinned people need far less, maybe a few minutes of midday sun, whereas very dark-skinned people need up to 4 times that amount of sun exposure a day.
So how do we get enough Vitamin D without getting a sunburn?  Using sunscreen actually prevents your body from absorbing Vitamin D, so your best bet is to sit in the sun for however many minutes your body needs to soak up the D and then slather on the UV protection for the rest of your sunbathing day. 
But if you do happen to turn lobster red, like the little girl in the Coppertone ad, there are some natural ways to help relieve pain of sunburn:
Take a cool shower or bath to stop the heating process, then gently rub one of the following into your skin:

ALOE VERA GEL-  soothes and heals the inflammation- cut open a leaf if you have a plant, or apply a store bought gel for relief,

CHAMOMILE TEA-  is great for skin irritations, so boil some tea, cool off and then apply.

GREEN TEA- the quercetin, Vitamin C and antioxidants in green tea help heal the skin. Again, apply cooled off tea to your skin.

WITCH HAZEL- also helps relieve sunburn. Apply with some cotton onto the burned area.

Here are some other home remedies for sunburn.

I have never had the patience to sit in the sun, so have never had to deal with a sunburn, but the above remedies seem relatively harmless.

Remember, if you have a severe sunburn, go see your health practitioner.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day 2012- Proctor Gamble Best Job ad

This wonderful Olympic Games 2012 ad is in honor of mothers- the hardest but best job in the world.

So, for all you mothers out there, Happy Mother's Day! Thank you for all your sacrifices, encouragement, love and nurturing.

Cross Posted on Confessions of a Closet Republican

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lesson On Patience: The Taxi Driver and The Old Lady

This story has been making the rounds on Facebook.  I'm not sure if it's true, and I rather doubt it is, but whether it is or not, it's a wonderful reminder about the importance of patience, particularly with our older generation. And how we can make a difference in someone's life by being kind, loving and patient.

As they say, patience is a virtue.

UPDATE 9/12: When I first googled this, I couldn't find any articles that referenced an actual author, they all attributed it to an anonymous writer. Thanks to the two readers below, it turns out that the story was written by Kent Nerburn in his book Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace and was actually an encounter he had as a graveyard shift taxi-driver in Minneapolis, MN in the late 1980s.  His full version of the story is published here on Huffington Post.

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. 'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her.. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.'

'Oh, you're such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, 'Could you drive through downtown?'

'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly..

'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued in a soft voice..'The doctor says I don't have very long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

'What route would you like me to take?' I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired. Let's go now'.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

'How much do I owe you?' She asked, reaching into her purse.

'Nothing,' I said

'You have to make a living,' she answered.

'There are other passengers,' I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said. 'Thank you.'

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?  What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher- Recipe For A Long, Good Marriage

Marriage is not easy, that's why so many end in divorce.  So, imagine being married for almost 87 years!  That's how long Zelmyra and Herbert Fisher of North Carolina had been married, before Herbert passed away on February 27th, 2011. 2008 Guiness World Record holders for the longest marriage, Zelmyra was born in 1907 and Herbert in 1905.

On Valentine's Day 2010, they spent time on Twitter giving relationship advice, and what great advice it was:

1. What made you realize that you could spend the rest of your lives together? Were you scared at all? H Z: With each day that passed, our relationship was more solid and secure. Divorce was NEVER an option – or even a thought.
2. How did you know your spouse was the right one for you?
We grew up together and were best friends before we married. A friend is for life – our marriage has lasted a lifetime.

3. Is there anything you would do differently after more than 80 years of marriage?
We wouldn’t change a thing. There’s no secret to our marriage, we just did what was needed for each other and our family.

4. What is your advice to someone who is trying to keep the faith that Mr. Right is really out there?
Zelmyra: Mine was just around the corner! He is never too far away, so keep the faith – when you meet him, you’ll know.
5. What was the best piece of marriage advice you ever received?
Respect, support and communicate with each other. Be faithful, honest true. Love each other with ALL of your heart.

6. What are the most important attributes of a good spouse?
Zelmyra: A hard worker and good provider. The 1920s were hard, but Herbert wanted  provided the best for us. I married a good man!

7. What is your best Valentine’s Day memory?
Zelmyra: I cook dinner EVERY day. Herbert left work early and surprised me – he cooked dinner for me! He is a VERY good cook!
Herbert: I said that I was going to cook dinner for her and she could relax – the look on her face and clean plate made my day!

8. You got married very young – how did u both manage to grow as individuals yet not grow apart as a couple?
“Everyone who plants a seed and harvests the crop celebrates together” We are individuals, but accomplish more together.

9. What is your fondest memory of your 85-year marriage?
Our legacy: 5 children, 10 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great grandchild.

10. Does communicating get easier with time? How do you keep your patience?
The children are grown, so we talk more now. We can enjoy our time on the porch or our rocking chairs – together.

11. How did you cope when you had to be physically separated for long periods of time?
Herbert: We were apart for 2 months when Z was hospitalized with our 5th child. It was the most difficult time of my life. Zelmyra’s mother helped me with the house and the other children, otherwise I would have lost my mind.
12. At the end of bad relationship day, what is the most important thing to remind yourselves?
Remember marriage is not a contest – never keep a score. God has put the two of you together on the same team to win.
13. Is fighting important?
NEVER physically! Agree that it’s okay to disagree, and fight for what really matters. Learn to bend – not break!

14. What’s the one thing you have in common that transcends everything else?
We are both Christians and believe in God. Marriage is a commitment to the Lord. We pray with and for each other every day.
Asked what the secret was to their long marriage, Zelmyra said:
“No secrets. There isn’t any secret. It was only God that kept us together.”

God, their faith, love and selflessness, the recipe for a good marriage.

They have five children, all of whom Herbert put through college, through hard work and diligence.


The Power Of Words- Video

We all know that our thoughts shape our lives- that if we think negatively, we will draw negativity into our lives, but if we think positively, we will draw all that is positive into our lives. But what about words? It's important to know that they too impact our lives.  They not only have the power to shape what happens in our own life, they can also effect others.

The following video illustrates the power of words, and how simply changing a word or a phrase can change our lives.  Originally an award winning short film by Spanish filmmaker Alonso Alvarez Barreda entitled "Historia de un Letrero" (The Story of a Sign), this is an English language homage to the 2008 Cannes Film Festival winner by Andrea Gardner and her Purplefeather online marketing company.  And though the video seems more skewed towards how words can change perception with respect to how others see us and how we present ourselves to the world from a business perspective (she is a content specialist, after all), I think it is also applicable to life in general.  Gardner has also written a book "Change Your Words, Change Your World" which I think I'm going to buy. Amazon says of the book:

With honesty and warmth, Andrea Gardner shares her own ups and downs on her journey to changing her words and her world, and provides the inspiration and tools that you need to find your own true purpose and transform your life to match your dreams. From attracting prosperity and improving your relationships, to finding your true purpose and serving the world, Andrea touches on a wide variety of themes, and helps you laugh at your failings with love, and then pick yourself up and carry on to the wonderful life that you truly deserve. This is a light and entertaining read, but it contains a very powerful message that may very well change your world for good.
I'll let you know what I think. In the meantime, enjoy the video.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ben Comen Story- The Power Of Determination

Young Ben Comen has cerebral palsy, but his physical limitations have not stopped him from going after his dreams of cross country running.  This is a wonderful video about determination, and how with the love and encouragement of family, friends and teammates (of his cross country team) you can accomplish anything.  Ben doesn't compete against others, he competes against himself.

What a lovely, inspirational young man.

Grab your kleenex tissues.