Saturday, February 17, 2018

Good Baggage for Foster Children

When his foster siblings arrived with nothing but a few belongings in a trash bag, Hunter Beaton was struck by how unjust that seemed. It left such an impact on him that Hunter created Day 1 Bags — bags packed with a few essentials that would be given to children on their first day entering foster care. Thanks to Hunter’s dedication and hard work, what started as his Eagle Scout service project has now grown into a statewide initiative for foster children in Texas.

With the help of his community in Boerne, Texas, Hunter raised more $10,000 worth of donations to buy and fill 100 bags with essentials like toothbrushes, clothing and diapers. He donated the bags to Vault Fostering Community, a local foster family resource center.

Read the entire story at Points of Light.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Altruism May Make Your More Attractive

Data analysis by eharmony and JustGiving has revealed that when people are known to give to charity, they appear more attractive to others.

In fact, charitable giving boosts perceived levels of attractiveness for a third (32%) of singles with this feeling strongest among those aged 18-34. Altruistic people also receive more communication when online dating. In addition, the eharmony and JustGiving data shows that over a fifth (23%) would rather receive a charity donation on their behalf than a traditional Valentine’s gift.

Data mined from eharmony also shows that singles who reference some form of philanthropy on their profile – with keywords including charity, volunteering, giving or donating – receive over a third (34%) more communications than those who do not.

Similarly, those who appear to be innately more generous, based on psychological analysis from their answers to eharmony’s Relationship Questionnaire, receive around 80% more messages.

The analysis also considers location and reveals that residents of Liverpool, Manchester and Belfast possess the highest levels of philanthropy, making them the UK’s most charitably-minded cities. When considering gender, women are found to be somewhat more altruistic than their male counterparts.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

For the Love of Bald Eagle Hatchlings on Video Cam

After weeks of anticipation, two bald eagle eggs near Big Bear Lake hatched as viewers watched in real time via a streaming webcam, San Bernardino National Forest officials announced.

The first chick arrived at 9:57 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 11 from the first of two eggs laid days apart in early January, the U.S. Forest Service said. The parents have been taking turns watching over the eggs during their 35-day incubation period.

The second egg hatched about 12:20 p.m. Monday.

It took several minutes for the first chick to emerge, with the help of its parents. The video showed one of the adults as it carefully moved the bedding supporting the egg, and as it appeared to help lift and crack the remaining shell. Occasionally the parent settled on top of the chick for warmth and protection

--From the Los Angele Times

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

10 Ways to Love Yourself

A truism run through books on spirituality, physcology, and philosophy -- and that is you can't love others until you learn to love yourself.

The Daily Prism searched for ways to better love oneself, and picked our favorites:

  • Begin your day with the intention to love -- yourself and those with whom you meet.
  • Rid yourself of people who do not love you. 
  • Treat your body and mind to healthy habits.
  • Forgive your past. It's done. It's over.
  • Be grateful for the good that surrounds you -- even those tiny specks that are barely visible.
  • Have fun. At least once a week do something that pleases just you--taking time to read, a walk in the park, listening to your favorite musician, etc.
  • Speak positively about yourself -- both internally and out loud.
  • Seek the awesome.
  • Be patient with yourself. Perfection takes time.
  • As you begin your day with intention, let your day end with quiet time for reflection, meditation, or journaling.

Monday, February 12, 2018

A Quiz: Do You Love Your Partner Compassionately?

Love is in the air. A day centered around a Roman man called Valentinus (Latin for worthy, strong and powerful) has a questionable history and an unfortunate end for St. Valentine. Not unusual to most Christian holidays, St. Valentine's Day is rooted in pagan traditions. From  "Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

"To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage."

Fortunately, through the centuries the sacrificial elements of Lupercalia, transitioned into a more gentle form of expressing love. And now the question is:

"You might love your partner truly, madly, deeply. But do you love compassionately?"

To find out—and get tips for becoming a more compassionate partner—take this quiz, which is adapted from a scale developed by researchers Susan Sprecher and Beverley Fehr.

Click this link to take the Compassionate Love Quiz.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Walk in Mindfulnnes to Leave Fear, Sorrow Behind

Walking Meditation

Jonathon Stalls, a Living School student and founder of Walk2Connect, writes about learning how “we share a common journey of wanting to love and be loved; that we want to feel safe, comfortable, and connected; that we want to belong—somewhere. . . . We’re afraid of exposure and vulnerability. We’re afraid of the unknown. We’re afraid to be wrong. We’re afraid of abandonment. We’re afraid of weakness, of truly trusting, and the fragility of letting go.”

Stalls offers this wisdom from Thich Nhat Hanh:

When we practice [mindfulness], we are liberated from fear, sorrow, and the fires burning inside of us. When mindfulness embraces our joy, our sadness, and all our other mental formations, sooner or later we will see their deep roots. With every mindful step and every mindful breath, we see the roots of our mental formations. Mindfulness shines its light upon them and helps them to transform. \

Stalls continues:

I can’t think of a better way to bring mindfulness practice into our body and into the outside world than through walking, strolling, or rolling at one to three miles an hour. It changes everything. It trains us, both on the inside and the outside, to begin seeing God, the Great Spirit, in ourselves and in others in such foundational ways. This humble posture invites us into the fragile details behind our own breath, the curious creatures high in the trees, and the struggle in being a pedestrian in today’s time. Whether it’s twenty minutes or four hours, mindful walking can invite new ideas, new ways of seeing, and new ways of understanding with every step.

I invite you to step outside and walk mindfully.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Tips for Children's Mental Health Week -- Building Self-Esteem

This Children’s Mental Health Week (February 5-11, 2018), we’re encouraging children, young people and adults to celebrate their uniqueness. It’s all about #BeingOurselves!

When we have a positive view of ourselves it can help us to cope with life’s challenges, and recognising the different qualities of others can allow us to connect with those around us – which is vital for our own and others’ wellbeing.

On Helping Self-Esteem

Can you think of 3 positive things to say about a close friend? What about 3 positive things about yourself? If you struggled with the second question, you’re not alone.

It is sometimes difficult to think of positive things about ourselves and to be balanced and fair when we look at who and how we are as people. From our work in schools we know that this is something children and young people can struggle with too. It can be all too easy nowadays to compare ourselves negatively to others, especially online, and sadly low self-esteem affects more than 8 in 10 of the pupils who have access to our school-based support.

  • There are lots of small things you can do to feel more comfortable in your own skin. Start by looking out for negative self-talk. When you notice that you are being very critical of yourself, try challenging the thought with something positive.
  • Setting yourself small challenges is another great way to help you feel better about yourself. Whether you start running again, sign up to a new course or learn to cook something new, be proud of what you have achieved.
  • Have a chat about your different strengths, qualities and interests as a family. Whether it’s over dinner or in the car, it can be fun to notice how we are all different from each other and you never know, you might also learn something new about yourself!
About Place2B:

Place2Be is the UK's leading children's mental health charity providing in-school support and expert training to improve the emotional wellbeing of pupils, families, teachers and school staff.

We currently provide whole-school mental health and emotional wellbeing services in 282 primary and secondary schools across England, Scotland and Wales. Last year we also provided in-depth training in a further 31 schools, reaching a total school population of over 135,000 pupils.

We build children's resilience through talking, creative work and play, helping them to develop the skills to cope with wide-ranging and often complex social issues including bullying, bereavement, domestic violence, family breakdown, neglect and trauma.

--The above post is excerpted from the website, Place2B, Children's Mental Health Week