Thursday, May 31, 2012

Living for Today

The Heart and the Fist

I started reading a book tonight called The Heart and the Fist, by Eric Greitens, a U.S. Navy Seal.  I have only completed the first chapter, and I am already so into it.  I think it is a MUST READ for everyone...
The book tells of Eric Greitens's experiences all around the world...and it is eye-opening.  As I said, I have only read the first chapter and it has triggered so many different emotions from me.  I will keep posting my thoughts as I read on.  Mostly, so far, I just have to say that I think everyone should take time to try and understand what is going on in the world around them. 
Thank you to our soldiers for what they do...I can not even express how much respect I have for these men and women.

A Soldier for a Soldier

ABC News' Linsey Davis and Lauren Sher:
Nine-year-old Brendan Haas, who spent three months trading things so he could win a vacation to Disney World and then gave it away to a girl whose father was killed in Afghanistan, was surprised with his own Walt Disney World trip today on " Good Morning America."
To reward Brendan for his generosity, the Disney Company, the parent company of ABC, awarded Brendan's family with an all-expense paid trip of their own, and made Brendan an "honorary citizen of Walt Disney World."
But instead of accepting the trip, Brendan said he wanted to pay it forward yet again and that he'd be able to find another family of a fallen soldier who deserves it.
"We can't accept a trip to Disney but we have many more people who would like to have an all-expenses paid [trip] …so we can do another raffle," he said today from his home in Kingston, Mass.
His mom, Melissa Haas, said her son's response even caught her off guard, but she never puts anything past him.
"Knowing him, in my head, I would think that he would do something like that," Melissa Haas said. "For a 9-year-old to get that opportunity and to have a response like that, it's amazing. We say it's like having a 40-year-old in a 9-year-old's body. I am very proud."
Brendan's mom said he wants to donate the trip to another family from the original raffle pool.
In February, Brendan set up a Facebook page called "A Soldier for a Soldier," hoping that he could trade his toy soldier for a trip to Disney World to give to a fallen soldier's family.
"I just think they do something good, so I wanted to do something good back," Brendan said of his toys and their real life counterparts.
Brendan was inspired by Kyle MacDonald, 26, who became an Internet sensation after trading a single red paperclip for a series of bigger items, and eventually his house.
Brendan said he posted his toy soldier one night, and the next morning, people immediately responded with hundreds of offers. He swapped through a NASCAR toy, a weekend ski vacation, and just before Memorial Day, he got what he wanted: an all-expenses paid trip to Disney World.
"I was just so excited," Brendan recalled. "At first I was worried it wouldn't work."
The boy said he then put a bunch of names of military families that he'd gathered from Facebook into a hat, and pulled out the name of 2-year-old Liberty Hope Steele. Brendan soon surprised her family with the trip to Disney World.
Liberty Steele's 25-year-old father - Army Lieutenant Timothy Steele - was killed last August in Afghanistan.
In a twist of fate, Lieutenant Steele apparently knew all about Kyle Macdonald's original paperclip trade.
"The things Tim had in his pockets when he died were a St. Christopher's Medal, a picture of his family, and a post it note with the words "red paperclip," his mother, Mary Ellen Steele, said.
Disney will also upgrade the Steele's family vacation, rolling out the red carpet for them on their visit.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

More Funny Dog Pictures

Chihuahua Hair Piece

Man Gives a Little of Himself for a Friend

The Telegraph
ST. LOUIS — Paul Wallace didn’t give Vanessa Vassar his heart for Valentine’s Day, but rather his kidney.
The duo underwent a living donor kidney transplant surgery Tuesday, which also happened to be National Donor Day, at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. As the nearly six-hour procedure took place, family and friends waited in the lobby.
"I’m excited for Vanessa," said Sara Wallace, Paul’s wife. "I don’t think she knows how good she’s going to feel. I’m proud of Paul for doing this."
Sara Wallace has known Vassar her whole life. The duo grew up going to the same church and school — Alpha Chapel in Alton.
When Vassar first found out she needed a kidney, Sara said she agreed to get tested but had reservations about the process.
"Paul never hesitated, not once," she said.
Sara said she and her husband both were suitable matches to be a donor, but it was he who decided to step forward and offer her friend the gift of a lifetime.
Vassar’s parents, Henry and Shirley Vassar of Godfrey, said they believed Paul was doing a great thing for their daughter.
"It’s a godsend," Henry said.
Henry said his daughter has been blessed and that their faith in God has helped the family get through the ordeal.
Sara agreed.
Vanessa was diagnosed in 2001 with a disease known as amyloidosis. The disease actually is a group of diseases in which one or more organ systems in the body accumulate deposits of abnormal proteins, known as amyloid.
Prior to being diagnosed, Vanessa suffered strange symptoms. A biopsy revealed the disease and the fact it was attacking her kidneys.
Prior to the surgery, Vanessa herself said it was a rare disease and that only 4,000 people worldwide are diagnosed each year.
Henry said his daughter, who lives in Mattoon, has been fortunate that she has been able to continue working throughout her ordeal.
The 40-year-old, who holds a bachelor of arts degree in counseling from Greenville College and a master’s degree in psychology/counseling from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tenn., works as a child care consultant with Life Links Inc., a nonprofit that works in providing health care to those in need.
"She has never let her illness stop her," Henry said.
Henry said the one thing his daughter wants people to know is how important living donors are and that you do not need to be a relative.
"She hopes that her and Paul’s story will help motivate others," he said.
Besides Sara and Vanessa’s parents, other family members who waited included Paul’s father, Harold Wallace of Alton, and uncle, David Jackson of Granite City. Jeff Andersen, the children’s pastor from the Wallace’s church, Abundant Life Community Church in Godfrey, also stayed with the family.
While everyone waited, two surgical teams started the transplant procedure about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Paul was taken into the donor operating room first, and 45 minutes later, Vanessa was brought into the recipient operating room.
Dr. Surendra Shenoy performed the donor surgery, and Dr. Jason Wellen completed the recipient transplant. Both surgeons work as transplant team members and full-time physicians of Washington University School of Medicine and nursing and allied health employees at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
Transplant surgeons at Washington University have performed kidney transplants for more than 30 years and have achieved an acute rejection rate of 4.2 percent — the lowest rejection rate ever in any transplant program in the world.
Wellen said the team performed 230 transplant surgeries in 2011, and 70 were from living donors.
Shenoy developed the mini-nephrectomy that was used in Paul’s part of the kidney transplant. The procedure allows for the kidney to be removed through a 3-inch-long incision, compared to a traditional 10- to 12-inch one.
Paul’s kidney was removed from his back, which leaves less chance for infection, fewer days in the hospital and reduced pain. His procedure took a little longer than normal, because Shenoy had to work around two renal arteries rather than the typical one that connects to the kidney.
The renal arteries carry a large portion of total blood flow to the kidneys. Up to one-third of total cardiac output can pass through the renal arteries to be filtered by the kidneys.
Shenoy and his team, which included a resident assistant, scrub tech and anesthesiologist, worked for nearly three hours to remove the organ. At 10:17 a.m., the kidney was out, and Wellen began flushing it of all the blood.
After cleaning and adding preservation fluid, he then took the kidney, which was no bigger than the size of a palm, into the adjacent operating room. Wellen then spent the next 30 minutes benching, or prepping, the kidney to be placed into Vanessa.
By noon, the newly placed kidney in Vanessa’s body was producing urine.
The kidneys control about 80 percent to 85 percent of the body’s operating systems.
All together, the surgeries lasted approximately six hours. Paul and Vanessa then spent between three and four hours in recovery before being placed in the intensive care unit.
Paul is expected to be released from the hospital within two days. Vanessa should be released within five days.
Paul, who works for the Alton Public Works Department, will be off on sick leave for approximately four weeks. When he returns, he will be on restricted duties.
Vanessa also will be able to return to work about a month after the transplantation.
According to remarkable and life-changing."

Wellen said there are not many opportunities that someone gets to help save the life of another person.
"This is one of them," he said.

Read more:

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Brother's Ultimate Sacrifice

In Denver, Colorado two brothers embraced before going into surgery for a liver transplant. Ryan Arnold, age 34, was donating a part of his healthy liver so that his older brother Chad Arnold, who had an incurable liver disease, could live.
This type of surgery is rare and not without risk. After what seemed to be a successful surgery complications arose. Within four days, the donor Ryan Arnold died while his brother Chad lived.
Ryan and Chad’s father fought back tears as he broke the news to Chad with the simple words, “I have some bad news. Ryan’s gone but we still serve a good God.”
When someone goes through unbearable pain and emerges with faith intact something in all of us takes notice. Faith emerges as less of a debate and its sacred nature becomes illuminated. The words in scripture, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends,” (John 15:13) are merely noble words until modeled in a hospital room where a brother’s life hangs in the balance or on a cross 2,000 years ago.

August 2010

Read more:

Friday, May 18, 2012

Kentucky man buys Kmart inventory, gives it all away

A Kentucky man purchased every last bit of inventory from a Kmart store that was two days away from shutting its doors. But he didn't keep the stuff for himself. Rankin Paynter gave it all way to a local charity.
Paynter spent a total of $200,000 to buy the goods, which ranged from clothes to office supplies. According to a video from WHDH Boston, Paynter was buying supplies for his business when the idea hit. Paynter asked the cashier what they planned to do with the store's inventory when it closed down. The cashier responded that it would go to "Kmart power buyers."
Paynter became a power buyer, bought up everything, and then gave it away. "To be honest with you, I could have made $30,000-$40,000 on it," he said. Paynter has seen a lot of economic suffering at his jewelry exchange. "What I see is people coming in my store, needy people sell their stuff," Paynter said. "It's bad nowadays. I just told (the clerk) let's just give it away to charity."
Paynter is a successful businessman, but he had a rough time when he was growing up. "It was hard sometimes," Paynter said. "Tied rags around my feet sometimes too. I only had summer slippers."
Not surprisingly, Paynter's massive gift to Clark County Community Services was the organization's single biggest donation ever.

Crafty Journal

· Scrapbook paper
· Scissors
· 3 buttons: 1 large, 2 small (1 with a shank)
· Pencil
· Precut floral stem wire
· Wire cutters
· Ribbon
· Hot-glue gun and glue sticks
· Journal or notebook

1. Make 1 flower (see slides 2-5), using the button with a shank for the first button in step 4. Trim wire with wire cutters just below flower.
2. Cut a length of ribbon long enough to wrap around journal, plus 3" to 4". Hot-glue one end of ribbon to journal halfway down the front cover near the open edge; let dry.
3. Hot-glue flower on top of ribbon (edge should not go past edge of journal); let dry.
4. Wrap ribbon around journal and around shank of top button to secure.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Summer Braids

french braid own hair

Clever Proposal

Aric Egmont knew he had to calm down or he was going to blow it. After all, who breaks out into a flop sweat doing the crossword puzzle? If he didn’t relax, he was sure to clue his girlfriend, Jennie Bass, into the fact that this was no ordinary Sunday Boston Globe. This was his marriage proposal.
The two, both 29 — he’s in communications, she studies public health — had dated for four years and never seriously discussed marriage. Why mess up a good thing? went the thinking. But Aric had second thoughts. And since they were fanatics, he says, proposing via the tiny boxes of a crossword puzzle “was a more natural idea than it might seem to others.”
So last June he contacted the Globe and told them about his idea. They bit. Aric fed Globe puzzle writers Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon (who also create RD‘s Word Power column) personal info to be turned into clues, then he waited … for four torturous months.
On the morning of September 23, having not slept the entire night before, Aric nonchalantly asked Jennie, “Want to do the crossword puzzle?” He bolted downstairs and out the door, grabbed the paper, then ran up to their bedroom. Climbing back into bed, the two assumed their normal puzzle-solving pose, with Jennie leaning against him. Almost immediately, she was struck by the number of clues that matched up with people and places in her life.
Twenty across asked: “Lover of Theseus.” The answer was Ariadne, whose namesake is a friend of Jennie’s. Seventy-three across: “One of the Judds.” Naomi, also Jennie’s sister’s name. Ninety-one across: “NASCAR driver Almirola.” Answer: Aric.
Aric began scanning ahead to where the big clue was. “I knew the moment was coming,” he said. And there it was. One hundred eleven across: “Generic proposal.” Clever, he thought, a wordplay on Jen and Aric. The clue next to it was “Winston’s mother.”
“Look at that,” said Aric. “Will you marry me, Jennie.’” He waited for a reaction. He didn’t get one. Jennie is a smart person, smart enough to know all about Theseus’ love life, but this was information overload. So Aric produced a ring and, quoting the Boston Globe crossword puzzle, asked, “Will you marry me, Jennie?”
After tears and shrieks and lots of “I love you’s,” Jennie said yes.
“I’m not the most romantic person,” admits Aric. “I think I was playing above my head on this one.”
Then Romeo adds, “Hopefully, this will satisfy Jennie for a while.”

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Boy Saved at Sea Joins Coast Guard

Orlando Morel was 6 years old when he and his mother left Haiti on a crowded small wooden boat destined for America. Now 24, Morel remembers the blue of the ocean everywhere. And the hunger.
When a piece of bread fell into the water, Morel quickly scooped it up. "I will never forget that taste," he said, recalling the salty, soggy bread.

Nor will he forget when the Coast Guard showed up in a white boat and rescued him, his mother and other passengers.

Eternally grateful, the rescue led Morel to join the Coast Guard, and on Wednesday he will graduate from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut. He will serve on a cutter out of Florida whose mission will include migrant interdiction in the very waters where Morel was rescued nearly two decades ago.

"I can put myself in their shoes," said Morel, who can still speak Creole.
He says he would probably be dead had the Coast Guard not found him and his fellow migrants, who were lost and out of food. So, he's excited at the prospect of saving lives, just as his was saved.
"I don't think that anything I can do will be enough as payback," Morel said.

Tony McDade, chief of Morel's company at the academy, said Morel was a "phenomenal cadet" who helped other cadets succeed. He said Morel will bring empathy to the service because of his childhood experience.
"When he told me his story, I thought, wow, this is like something out of a Hollywood movie," McDade said. "It's not something he advertises. He's very humble about it."
After the rescue, Morel wound up being sent to Cuba. His mother was taken to a hospital in the United States because she had cancer and burns on her hands.

"I was confused, I was scared," Morel said. "Not being with my mom made me even more scared."
Morel was reunited with his mother at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland. He visited her several times before she died shortly after his birthday.

"I wanted to cry, but I remember I just couldn't cry," Morel said. "I think it was like shock. We've been through a lot."

His mother told him that her translator, a Haitian woman serving in the U.S. Navy, would take care of him. That woman, a single mother named Louise Jackson, wound up adopting him.
"She's just a remarkable lady," Morel said. "She knew it was going to be hard and she went ahead and did it. I pretty much owe her my life."

Jackson, who lives in Rockville, Md., said when she told Morel his mother had died, he replied, "Is this time for good? I'm never going to see her anymore."
Jackson said it was too sad to let Morel be sent back to Haiti.
"He had no family whatsoever here," Jackson said.

Jackson, who is now battling cancer herself, said she's thrilled that her son is graduating from the Coast Guard Academy and predicted he will do well in service.
"To me that's a beautiful American story," Jackson said. "It can only happen in America."

Morel laughed as he recalled his adopted mother's tough rules about studying and not staying out or drinking. "She whipped me into shape quick," he said.
She got him involved in church and swimming and reminded him as he got older that it was the Coast Guard that saved him as a boy. Morel began to look into the guard in high school and was quickly sold on a service dedicated to saving lives.
"I just fell in love with the Coast Guard," Morel said.

Serving off the Florida coast will bring into contact with migrants fleeing poverty and trying to restart their lives in America. Many, however, will be sent back to their home countries.
He acknowledges having mixed feelings about that, but he says it has to be done because there must be a policy to regulate how many people come into the United States.

"What I tell myself is I was given an opportunity and my life was saved by the Coast Guard," Morel said. "I feel it's better to be alive and shipping back to Haiti than being abandoned out at sea and pretty much starving to death or dying of dehydration."

NEW HAVEN, Conn. May 14, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Garage Sale Supporting the Wounded Warrior Project

Garage Sale Supporting the Wounded Warrior Project
914 County Road, Metamora, IL 61548

Friday May 18th 8:00am - 3:00pm
Saturday May 19th 8:00am - 12:00pm

 Ladies clothes, some kids clothes holiday items, household items, and misc. Kids will have a treat and drink stand to help raise money for the cause.

One Heck of a Son-in-Law

Alabama native Betty Black lost her high school ring 43 years ago while she was playing softball. Black said that she had never expected to see her ring again. She was wrong.

Last year, Black's daughter married a man named Wendell Watkins, whose family owns the land where the softball field once stood. Although the field had been cleared and had weathered various crops and years of storms, Watkins started a search for the ring.

Watkins said that he tried to imagine the outline of where the softball field had once stood. He found where the pitcher's mound may have been, then traced his way toward where the backstop probably was. Then he started digging. After only about 10 minutes, he noticed something that looked out of place in the dirt. It was Black's class of 1959 ring.

When Watkins reunited his mother-in-law with her ring, she was elated. Black said she was so emotional, she "almost had a seizure."

That's one heck of a son-in-law.

By Melissa Knowles

Easy Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

Easy Ice Cream Sandwiches Recipe

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package chocolate cake mix
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream, softened


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease baking sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, butter, vanilla extract, eggs, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips. Roll dough into 2-inch balls and place them onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Do not overbake; the cookies should be set, but still soft. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing to finish cooling on wire racks.
  3. Using an ice cream scoop, mold the softened ice cream into a ball about the size of the cookies. Place scoop of ice cream between two cookies and gently press together. If you like a smooth edge, run the back of a spoon around the edge of the ice cream sandwich. Working quickly, fill all of the cookies, lay out on a baking sheet, and place in the freezer to harden. Serve when the ice cream has frozen solid. Sandwich cookies can be stored in a freezer bag for up to two weeks.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Blueberry Lemonade...YUM!!

Blueberry Lemonade

Makes 5 cups
Blueberries are teeming with taste but this easy recipe can also be used to make peach, apricot, strawberry, blackberry, or any fruit-flavored lemonade of your choice.


  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar


  1. Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  2. Strain mixture into a pitcher through a fine sieve or cheesecloth to remove any solids. Serve chilled or over ice.

Sweet Summertime Treats

Sweet Sandals

Living for Today

Check him out!!

So Funny!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Touching Story

In Titanic, the scene showing an elderly couple embracing while the ship sunk was based on a real couple.

They were the owners of Macy's. Their names are Isidor and Ida Straus and their story is quite touching. Raised in the south during the Civil War, Isidor would go on to New York where he would jointly found a store that sold crockery and glassware with his brother.

After becoming extremely wealthy, Isidor married Rosalie Ida Blun, and by all accounts the two were inseparable. When apart they would write letters every single day and tried to always stay in each other’s company. The Straus’ boarded the Titanic on their return trip from Germany to the United States when, on April 14, 1912, the ship struck an iceberg.

The couple made it to a lifeboat, but Ida refused to board proclaiming, "I will not be separated from my husband. As we have lived, so will we die, together." When an officer offered for Isidor to join his wife he refused, instead giving his spot to his wife’s maid.

The couple then proceeded to the back of the panicking crowd and were last seen sitting together in chairs on the deck of ship, calmly holding hands until a massive wave washed them into the sea. Today a memorial for Ida and Isidor can be seen on the main floor of Macy’s Department Store in Manhattan.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

For All That You Have Given Me

For all that you have given me,
I can return but love. For you
Bound up the wounds I did not see
And gave me hopes and passions new.

I can return but love for you,
Whose unmoved faith my heart did move,
And gave me hopes and passions new,
And loved me till I turned to love.

Whose unmoved faith did my heart move?
The mother of my heart, not blood,
Who loved me till I turned to love.
And I became the soul I would.

The mother of my heart, not blood,
Bound up the wounds I did not see.
And I became the soul I would
For all that you have given me.

-By Dimitri Shostakovich.

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Military Coming Home Videos

These always manage to make me cry!  So much love shown here.


Spontaneous Kindness

I just heard a story from a friend of mine that I would like to share with you.

Today, a lady went to a restuarant (where my friend works) and was having a conversation with the cashier there.  At the end of their chat, the lady emptied out her brand new Coach purse and asked for a brown paper bag to put her belongings in.  She then gave her purse and matching wallet to the cashier and left the restaurant. 


Interesting Article about Mental Health

It's and oldie, but still very true!

The Mystery Marine


Stanley the Bird

Today I got a phone call from a friend saying she had rescued a baby bird who was being tossed around by a cat.  The bird was fine, but his wing was injured and he could not fly.  The poor thing would have been helpless against we decided we needed to take him somewhere to get fixed up.  My friend brought the bird over in a shoe box, and we took him to PAWS where he could get some help before being released back into the wild.  We thought he needed a name before we let him go, so we came up with Stanley.

We aren't all animal lovers, but it is hard to see a little creature so helpless and not do something about it.  Thanks to my friend and PAWS, Stanley will get to fly around with his birdie friends some more.  What a great way to start my day :)


Some Must-See Videos

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Feel Good About Yourself

This is a place to read and share stories that make us feel good inside.  They will feature real people whose selfless acts help to make the world a brighter place.  Hopefully, they can inspire readers to think more about how every nice gesture, big or small, can really influence a person's entire day.  Besides that, these stories make us happy because they remind us of all the good people in the world when all we hear about are the bad.  Let's dedicate this site to thanking each person who takes even a minute out of his or her day to try and make someone else's better.

Happy readings :)