This Week’s Good News

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I found some good news to share with you this week that came from a website devoted to good news. I must say, I was thrilled to find the site because doing a regular search for positive news on mainstream media left me high and dry. Jen Kremer wrote 365 love letters to her peers. Like so many of us who don’t believe in the success rate of New Year’s resolutions, Jen tried something different that proved effective beyond belief.

“This was an experiment that absolutely altered the course of my life and the way I go through life,” she continued, “and it cost me nothing.”

The really great news about what Ms. Kremer accomplished is that she positively affected the lives of 365 individuals; it’s safe to say she absolutely made the day of 365 individuals who received a letter. But I’m not going to spoil it for you. Please click on the link above and rejoice in how the easiest and smallest of efforts can change the lives of many, including the person who made the effort.

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This Week’s Good News

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This week’s Good News story focuses on a commercial venture that offers a highly-discounted Caribbean cruise for Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers. (This is not a commercial for the cruise, rather, it’s a celebration of efforts to lighten the load of those on the dementia path that currently is approaching more than 50 million worldwide.) If you have ever traveled with someone with cognitive impairment, you know first-hand how difficult it can be to keep that someone engaged in activities that meet the impaired person’s needs. I am familiar with family members who have lost their loved one in an airport because of the unpredictability of a person’s behavior. Several years ago I flew in an airplane from Washington’s Dulles International airport to Seattle, seated two rows behind a woman who, quite frankly, should not have been traveling by herself, a person who could not sit still in her airplane seat, roaming down the middle aisle in an attempt to leave the airplane. As stressful as that was for the passengers, that stress doesn’t come close to the anxiety and stress experienced by the traveler who had no understanding of where she was, and no understanding of why she couldn’t simply leave the confines of the tubular travel vehicle. Alzheimer’s “exit-seeking behavior” at 35,000 feet is my October 2012 post that describes this harrowing experience.

But here’s the good news, the above Caribbean cruise – scheduled for April 2019 – is geared to the needs of both the person with dementia and her or his friendly caregiver. The staff and crew are trained to provide an optimal experience for one and all. Times of respite will be offered for the weary caregiver and adult day activities will be offered in abundance for the passenger with early-stage Alzheimer’s or similar dementia.

Now, if that isn’t good news, I don’t know what is.

My Best Intentions

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I learned something very valuable from two writer friends, Jill and Ann, both of whom live in North Carolina. Instead of New Year’s resolutions, Jill and Ann set a New Year intention and that intention is in the form of a single word. Jill selected MINIMIZE for 2019 and Ann selected ENLARGE.

The word-intention I have selected for 2019 is ACCEPTANCE.

You may be saying to yourself, “Oh, oh, sounds like Irene is giving up, lacking in hope, settling for less. Quite the contrary is true, and I’ll tell you why.

I chose the word ACCEPTANCE because applying that word in my life allows me to be more understanding and acknowledging of those with whom I may hold differing opinions. (Accepting does not equate to agreeing, it simply means I accept a person’s right to hold ideas and opinions that are not identical to mine.) ACCEPTANCE also provides me with greater ease of life as I accept reality rather than fight what can’t be changed. I read recently that arguing with reality can be harmful to one’s health; I’m not going to waste a minute on such fruitless efforts.

The concept of ACCEPTANCE started to seep into my consciousness when early in 2018, I watched the TED video, A love letter to realism in a time of grief. In less than twenty minutes of your time, you will witness what Mark Pollock & Simone George learned about reality and about the difference between being an optimist and being a realist.  Here’s a teaser explanation that will perhaps explain why I came to choose my 2019 word-intention.

Optimists rely on hope alone and end up disappointed. Realists accept the brutal facts and keep hope alive. Acceptance knows that grief is a raging river and you have to get in it because when you do, it carries you to the next place; it eventually takes you to the open land where it will turn out okay in the end.

I guess if you don’t get into the river, you’ll get stuck and never have the opportunity to find out what lies just beyond the bend. I have stepped into the river, and although I might step out from time to time during this new year, I feel confident I will get back in because of the desire not to miss out on what I cannot see. You see, because I’m not perfect, I’ve set ACCEPTANCE as an intention, rather than a resolution.

With resolutions, it’s all or nothing, baby; the pressure is on to change that something-or-other you discovered and have resolved to change. Sometimes resolutions get abandoned within the first 30-days, others don’t get much farther into the new year because many of us decide to just give up and take up that resolution the following year, or the one after that.

Intentions, however, have a more compassionate energy because they are not tied to outcomes. When I slip up I hope to view that shortcoming with less criticism and simply start over because the next moment presents a brand new opportunity. If I were to break my resolution, however, I think I would look at that setback as a failure because of messing up the “fix” I had decided to make in my life. With an intended action, however, I am on a path to create, rather than fix. Creating seems to allow a bit more leeway, don’t you think?

I leave you with the words of Socrates to explain my decision to intend, rather than resolve:

The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.

To make changes, a strategy has to be effective. Intention does that for me.

 

 

This week’s Good News

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Towards the end of 2018, I published a post celebrating the goodness that abounds all around us. Starting today and every Wednesday in 2019 I will post a Good News story I will have recently unearthed that I feel just might make your day…you know…to balance out all the bad news that permeates our world. I hope you enjoy my efforts at bringing a little light your way.

The first Good News story of 2019 spotlights a very generous person who hails from the greater Seattle area of Washington state. Last year, Alan Naiman, an extremely frugal social worker, learned he had terminal cancer and knowing he had very few months in which to live, decided to make a difference in the lives of many after he left this world as we know it. Please click on the link I have provided to read a very brief story about this fine person who, knowing you can’t take it with you, left what he had amassed to benefit others.

BREAKING NEWS: Goodness abounds!

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Goodness abounds, yes, it does.

We don’t hear or read about it enough but trust me, hatred and evil have got nothing on goodness and kindness in our world.

It has been said that it is the horrific stories that make headlines and quite frankly, that is true. Newspapers, magazines, television and social media news outlets clamber after Breaking News in their attempts to be the first to offer their take on ongoing incidents. Clamber means to “climb, move, or get in or out of something in an awkward and laborious way.” Can’t you visualize hungry journalists doing just that: pushing others out of the way, pulling yet others down in their singular effort to be first?

I am all for free journalism; without it I would not be writing this 990th post, so bring it on in all its raging color…however, wouldn’t it be rewarding to have our day interrupted by Breaking News that reports on the good and kind incidents that occur as well?

All right, I’ll do just that. Allow me to introduce you to two wonderful souls who have brought light into the darkness. This is Breaking News of the very best kind.

Sophie Andrews is a person who learned the hard way – one of the hardest – that The best way to help is often just to listenSophie was on death’s door – you have to listen to the 14-minute TED talk to learn of the details when a volunteer at UK’s Samaritan helpline picked up the phone and changed 14-year old Sophie’s life forever. Years later, Sophie gave back and paid it forward by starting a helpline for some of the most vulnerable human beings in society who are lonely and without access or means for socialization. Her Silver Line fields more than 1500 calls a day, making the lives of more than 550,000 UK senior citizens brighter, fuller and healthier each year.

Dixon Chibanda, one of 12 psychiatrists in the entire country of Zimbabwe – a country of 16 million people – created a program to treat individuals in need of psychiatric or psychological counseling: The friendship bench program – or why I train grandmothers to treat depressionThis program was birthed when a desperate young woman didn’t have the minimal bus fare needed to commute the 15 kilometers to meet with him in person and who suffered the tragic consequences. Dr. Chibanda created a program that brings care and hope to those in need powered by a limitless resource: grandmothers. Sitting on a bench, talking to someone who listens without judgment serves to make a difference in the mental health of thousands across his country and other countries as well – including the United States where a similar program has been started. Please take 12 additional minutes out of your day and listen to the TED talk I have linked above.

Listening – a free resource that is oftentimes not employed when needed the most; listening that actively tunes into the person speaking.

If you are someone who sets resolutions or intentions for the new year, perhaps practicing the art of listening might be at the top of your 2019 list.

I know it is on mine.

Time’s running out: discount book sale ends late 11/13

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All of the books shown in this graphic are part of the AlzAuthors Caregiver Appreciation week-long sale, starting today, November 7th. You’ll see my novel, Requiem for the status quo, in the upper right corner that is priced at 99 cents from Nov 7th through 13th. To link to all the books you see above, click on the AlzAuthors link here. Simply click on the book’s image and it will take you directly to its page on Amazon, making it extremely easy to purchase as many titles as you please. And don’t forget to gift others with titles as well. It’s so easy to do and the recipients of your gifts will be so pleased that you’ve thought of them.

Your link to highly discounted eBooks about Alzheimer’s!

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All of the books shown in this graphic are part of the AlzAuthors Caregiver Appreciation week-long sale, starting today, November 7th. You’ll see my novel, Requiem for the status quo, in the upper right corner that is priced at 99 cents from Nov 7th through 13th. To link to all the books you see above, click on the AlzAuthors link here. Simply click on the book’s image and it will take you directly to its page on Amazon, making it extremely easy to purchase as many titles as you please. And don’t forget to gift others with titles as well. It’s so easy to do and the recipients of your gifts will be so pleased that you’ve thought of them.