Tag Archive | laughter

Endless Opportunities for Kindness

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is a wonderful organization who I’ve celebrated before and they deserve repeating. They generate ideas for ways that anyone can share acts of kindness. I’ve provided a link in this image to the page where these kind people have shared hundreds of ideas to help spark our own. May this list give us a great start, and may our visits to their site deepen the realization that the possibilities and opportunities for sharing kindness are practically endless.
Let’s be encouraged and encouraging! Each one of us can make a difference, each and every day. 

Related reading you may enjoy from a post I did celebrating this fantastic foundation:
http://professionsforpeace.com/2012/08/15/kindness-from-kids-of-all-ages/

“I like my life!”

I know this video of an enthusiastic 4-year-old named Jessica doing her daily affirmations in the bathroom mirror has long since gone viral but I want to share it here because it makes me smile.  AND I’ve discovered that if you try to emulate her amazing enthusiasm in front of your bathroom mirror (including swinging your arms, although maybe don’t climb up on the counter) it will make you laugh out loud and feel amazing! I encourage you to try it!

Jessica’s Daily Affirmation

Daily Affirmations of Success

In less than 2 minutes, this video combines soothing music and positive affirmations to inspire and uplift. May you enjoy!

Positive Affirmations for Well-Being

A 3-minute video with lovely music, images and inspiring affirmations to help jump-start your day in a wonderful way!

Pet Smiles

You may have seen some or all of these images before but I feel it’s time for some funnies! Here are a few humorous images of dogs and cats. They make me smile and I hope they bring a smile to your face as well. Hang in there! xo Hugs, Gina

alluneedislove-and a dog

cat-Group-Hug

Funny-dog-story
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funny_animal_pictures_2-9

awkward_moments_4

We-will-be-friends

IKEA cat

funny_animal_pictures_10-3

funny_animal_pictures_10

funny_animal_pictures_13

funny_animal_pictures_19

2hugyourdogorkitty

[with gratitude for these randomly sourced images off Google]

What A Child Lives With

every child is a different flower

Approach child two sentiments

if a child lives with fairness

If a child lives with encouragement, she learns to be confident.

If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.

If a child lives with praise, she learns to be appreciative.

If a child lives with acceptance, he learns to love.

If a child lives with approval, she learns to like herself.

If a child lives with recognition, he learns that it is good to have a goal.

If a child lives with sharing, she learns about generosity.

If a child lives with honesty and fairness, he learns what truth and justice are.

If a child lives with security, she learns to have faith in herself and in those around her.

If a child lives with friendliness, he learns that the world is a nice place in which to live.

If you live with serenity your child will live with peace of mind. With what is your child living?

[from Dorothy Law Nolte’s 1976 poem ‘Children Learn What They Live’ ~ Random images]

Precious Resource

Mother and Daughter Reading TogetherWhen I became a mother I was completely in the dark about being a parent. I was the first person I knew to go through the process of a pregnancy, giving birth and becoming a new parent so I had no role models. I had no idea of what to expect. Therefore I did what I’ve done all my life in such situations: I researched. Whenever I feel unsure of something I look more into it and read all I can about it. I want to see it being done, I want to be around others who are doing it and watch how they do it right. Research has always offered me reassurance.

playing for change imageLuckily there are many role models who adore children and know they’re our precious gift and hope for the future. These wise teachers share their knowledge in books, websites, workshops and courses. There is a wealth of information available to help anyone learn how to understand the importance of parenting and how do give our very best to this life-changing endeavour.

If we want to become a better chef, we make an effort to learn from others. Same with gardening, playing a musical instrument, or any other endeavour. We have to make an effort to learn the best way to do it. So let’s make an effort to learn how to excel at child care rather than just doing what we think works, or the way our parents raised us. Let’s see what new information resonates and works for our lives and our children. Even a few tips we acquire that can help calm quarrels and rivalries, build loving relationships, regain household order and foster mutual respect is worth every effort it takes to obtain the information and the time it takes to do some reading.

children laughingNo one is born with the knowledge of how to be an excellent parent, and becoming a parent does not automatically make one a good parent. Like stand up comics have sarcastically observed, we have to get a license to drive a motorcycle or car, or to even have a dog, but any fool can have a kid!

Let’s not be foolish with this precious role we’ve been granted as parents (or anyone who spends quality time with youngsters such as teachers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, nannies and babysitters) and get wise by picking up a book filled with the generous assistance of those who want to help. Libraries are filled with books on the subject of raising children into well adjusted and happy adults who will lead our world into the peaceful future we know we all deserve. Let’s make the effort to learn how to raise happy kids because it’s priceless!

children - Alice Walker[Randomly sourced images]

Kahlil Gibran “On Children”

kahlil gibran novel the-prophetLebanese artist, writer and poet Kahlil Gibran‘s novel from 1923 “The Prophet” has been translated to over forty languages, has sold over 100 million copies, and has never been out of print. Click here to view it on Amazon. According to Wikipedia, Kahlil Gibran is the third best-selling poet of all time, only behind William Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu.

While the entire novel is a beloved masterpiece, a favorite section will forever remain ‘On Children‘. Please visit my post from last Mother’s Day that was inspired by these wise words. Also inspired were the group Sweet Honey In The Rock (see post) who’ve recorded a lovely rendition in celebration of this incredible writing by Gibran. I’ve included the words to Gibran’s original work here as well as the slightly altered lyrics by the performers. May we be inspired to sing along to the uplifting beat and raise the upcoming generation remembering these truths.

Let us also remember the wise words from Mahatma Gandhi, “If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.”

Kahlil Gibran’s On Children

Sweet Honey In The Rock performing Kahlil Gibran’s “On Children”

Your children are not your children
They are the sons and the daughters of Life’s longing for itself
They come through you but they are not from you
And though they are with you, they belong not to you
You can give them your love but not your thoughts
Sweet-Honey-in-the-Rock logo 200They have their own thoughts
They have their own thoughts
You can house their bodies but not their souls
For their souls dwell in the place of tomorrow
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams
You can strive to be like them
But you cannot make them just like you
Strive to be like them
But you cannot make them just like you
Your children are not your children
sweet honey in the rock - small photoThey are the sons and the daughters of Life’s longing for itself
They come through you but they are not from you
And though they are with you, they belong not to you
You can give them your love but not your thoughts
They have their own thoughts
They have their own thoughts
You can house their bodies but not their souls
For their souls dwell in the place of tomorrow
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams
You can strive to be like them
But you cannot make them just like you
Strive to be like them
But you cannot make them just like you.
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peace banner bloggers4peace

Year of the Snake

~ Happy Chinese New Year ~ Gong Xi Fa Cai ~

I was born into a family that, while not of Asian ancestry, celebrated the Chinese New Year. My nearest and dearest are such Signs as Rabbit, Monkey, Ox, Dog, Horse, Dragon, and Snake! My mother prepared homemade Chinese food that was so good I still dream about it. I keep her memory alive by doing my best to replicate (and add to) her dishes.

Now my own family eagerly anticipates my feast of Chinese delicacies such as fried dumplings with rice vinegar and fresh ginger for dipping, a bountiful vegetable stirfry with oyster sauce, beef satay skewers with spicy peanut sauce, steamed noodles and sticky jasmine rice. That’s on my menu for this year anyways (it evolves).

Our house and front door have festive decorations that have been up for days. Tomorrow for our special supper we will wear something new and bright (preferably red!) and after dinner we’ll enjoy hot green tea with our fortune cookies as we laugh and ponder what they say. Then we joyfully enter a new year with a new Sign, embracing a positive expectancy of the very best.

May you and yours enjoy good fortune, vibrant health, abundant prosperity, and genuinely nourishing and loving relationships, this year and always.

chinese new year 2013

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The most common Chinese ways of saying Happy New Year are Gong Xi Fa Cai (Mandarin) and Gong Hey Fat Choy (Cantonese).

Even though the pronunciations are slightly different, both are written the same way: 恭禧發財

Welcome to Year of the Water Snake!

While last year’s Dragon was Yang energy, this year of the Snake is the balancing Yin.
We’ll probably see substantial developments in the area of science and technology this year.
This is a Water year as well, the element most closely associated with education and research,
which helps make 2013 an excellent year for scientists, educators, and academics.
Snake is a positive sign with lots of good energy that can help us face the challenges ahead.
Let’s take advantage of this vibrant influence to help improve our lives ~ and our whole world!

year of the snake and personality

Non-violent Movies

handfulof popcorn 123rf.com
One of the best parts of weekends is curling up with a movie and a bowl of popcorn to enjoy some laughs or touching moments. This is an excellent time to nourish our spirit and not fill our minds and hearts with images of violence. Let’s make careful and informed choices before we watch ‘whatever‘.

These lists are my effort to offer you ideas of movies that are quite low on the violence scale. While some have action and excitement, they’re mostly comedies and dramas that focus on the plights and pleasures of our shared human condition.  No horror here. Animated movies are included because they are some of the best movies ever made and are certainly not just for children.

I have only included movies that rate above average on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes (nothing below 70% Positive Ratings at time of posting*). I’ve gathered these two lists from my personal experience as well as from online research, so I haven’t seen them all yet. I recommend you check any movie before viewing it, especially with younger people or guests. Some have mild violence and the second list here is for adult audiences and those movies may have mild nudity or strong language.

Here are links to places you can simply type in the name of the movie you’re considering and learn more: IMDb  Wikipedia  RottenTomatoes  and especially Common Sense Media for examining a movie before viewing it with children, or to avoid movies with sexual content. 

May we all find something that is a joy to watch and lifts our hearts!

First List:

Rated “PG-13” “PG” or “General”
50 First Dates (2004 US comedy, PG-13, sexual content)
A Beautiful Mind (2001 US Biographical drama, PG-13)
A League Of Their Own (1992 US Drama, Rated PG)
An American Tale: Fievel Goes West (1991, Animated/Family, Rated G)
As Good As It Gets (1997 US Comedy-Drama, Rated PG-13)
Babe (1995, US Drama/Comedy/Family, Rated G)
Back To The Future (1985 US Comedy-Action, Rated PG)
*batteries not included (1987 US Comedy-Drama, Rated PG)
Benny And Joon (1993 US Drama-Comedy, Rated PG)
Big (1988 US Comedy-Drama, Rated PG)
Big Fish (2003 US Fantasy-Drama, Rated PG-13)
Brave (2012 US Animation-Family, Rated PG)
Calendar Girls (2003 UK Comedy-Drama, Rated PG-13)
Chocolat (2000 US Comedy-Drama, Rated PG-13)
Cinema Paradiso (1988 Italian Comedy-Drama, Rated PG)
City Slickers (1991 US Comedy-Drama, Rated PG-13)
Dave (1998 US Comedy-Drama, Rated PG-13)
Departures (2008 Japanese Drama, Rated PG-13)
Dersu Uzala (1975, Japanese/Russian)
Driving Miss Daisy (1990 US Drama, Rated PG)
Edward Scissorhands (1990 US Drama/Science Fiction, Rated PG-13)
ET: The Extra Terrestrial (1982, Drama/Science Fiction, Rated PG)
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986 US Comedy-Drama, Rated PG-13 for language)
Field Of Dreams (1989 US Drama, Rated PG)
Forrest Gump (1994 US Drama, Rated PG-13)
Ghostbusters (1984 US Comedy, Rated PG)
Groundhog Day (1993 US Comedy-Drama, Rated PG-13)
Harvey (1950 Classic charmer, sweet story about tolerance) RECOMMENDED: Thanks eBL!
Home Alone (1990 US Family-Comedy, Rated PG)
How To Train Your Dragon (2010 Animated Family, Rated PG)
Hugo (2011 US Action-Adventure, Rated PG)
In And Out (1997 US Comedy, Rated PG-13)
(#1) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981 US Adventure, Rated PG)
(#3) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989 US Action-Adventure, Rated PG-13)
(#4) Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008 US Adventure, PG-13)
It’s A Wonderful Life (1946 US Classic Drama, Not Rated. Engaging, sweet story)
Jean de Florette (1986 French Historical Drama, Rated PG)
Jean de Florette II (Manon des Sources 86 French Drama PG) RECOMMENDED:Thanks Kozo!
Julie And Julia (2009 US Comedy-Drama, Rated PG-13 for some language)
Kinky Boots (2005 UK Comedy-Drama, Rated PG-13)
Mary Poppins (1964 US Family movie, Rated G) Heart warming frolic for all ages
Millions (2005 UK Family film, Rated PG) Good movie for families
Miss Congeniality (2000 US Comedy, Rated PG-13)
Mr. Holland’s Opus (1997 US Drama, Rated PG)
My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002 US Comedy, Rated PG)
Nanny McPhee (2006 US Family movie, rated PG)
Nanny McPhee Returns (2010 US Family movie, Rated PG)
Ratatouille (2007 US Animated Family, Rated G) For kids but adults may enjoy more!
Say Anything (1989 US Drama, Rated PG-13) Great teen coming-of-age film
School Of Rock (2003 US Comedy, rated PG-13) Good positive message
Shrek (2001 US Animated Family film, Rated PG) Some edgy humor directed at adults
Singin’ In The Rain (1952 US Musical) Often considered the finest musical of all time.
Sleepless In Seattle (1993 Comedy, Rated PG) A fairy tale even teens can enjoy
Some Like It Hot (1959 US Classic, Comedy) One of the wildest romantic farces ever
Somewhere In Time (1980 Drama-Fantasy, Rated PG) RECOMMENDED: Thanks GFS & Patty!
Star Trek (2009 US Adventure/Science Fiction, PG-13) Classic franchise gets new life
Tangled (2010 US Animated Family film, Rated PG)
That Thing You Do (1996 US Comedy-Drama, Rated PG)
The Accidental Tourist (1988 US Drama, Rated PG)
The Blind Side (2009 US Drama, Rated PG-13)
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005 Fantasy, Rated PG)
The Magic of Belle Isle (2012 Drama-Comedy, Rated PG) RECOMMENDED (Thanks Russ!)
The Muppets (2011 US Comedy/Family film, Rated PG) Fun and heart warming movie
The Never Ending Story (1984 US Fantasy film, Rated PG) Not for very young viewers
The Odd Life Of Timothy Green (2012 US Drama, Rated PG) For kids and non-jaded adults
The Princess Bride (1987 US Fantasy-Comedy, Rated PG) Enjoyable, sharp-edged fairy tale
The Pursuit Of Happyness (2006 US Drama, Rated PG-13) Best for over 10yr olds
The Rundown (2003 US Action/Adventure, Rated PG-13) Some non-graphic violence
The Secret Garden (1993 US Family movie, Rated G) May bore kids used to action films
The Terminal (2004 US Drama, Rated PG-13 from brief strong language)
The Truman Show (1998 US Drama, Rated PG) thought provoking for 8yrs and up
The Wedding Singer (2004 US Comedy, Rated PG-13)
The Wizard Of Oz (1939 US Classic Family Drama, Not Rated)
Under The Tuscan Sun (2003 US Drama, Rated PG-13) Sweet adult story; not for kids
Up (2009 US Animated Family film, Rated PG) Wonderful family film for all ages
Waking Ned Devine (1998 Irish Comedy-Drama, Rated PG) Some black humor
Wall-E (2008 US Animated Family film, Rated G) Charming eco-friendly adventure
Whip It (2009 US Comedy, Rated PG-13) Mixes girl power and teen angst
Willow (1988 US Fantasy, Rated PG) Magic-filled adventure for tweens and up

Second List – NOTE – Rated R:

For an adult audience, these movies have strong language; some nudity
A Fish Called Wanda (1988 UK/USA Heist-Comedy, Rated R)
Almost Famous (2000 US Drama, Rated R)
Amarcord (1974 Italian Classic Drama, Rated R)
Amelie (2001 French Comedy-Drama, Rated R)
Billy Elliot (2000 UK Drama, Rated R)
Garden State (2004 US Drama, Rated R)
I Heart Huckabees (2004 US Comedy, Rated R)
Jerry Maguire (1996 US Drama, Rated R)
Lost In Translation (2003 US Drama, Rated R)
Nobody’s Fool (1994 US Drama, Rated R)
Our Idiot Brother (2011 US Comedy, Rated R)
Planes Trains And Automobiles (1987 US Comedy, Rated R)
Sideways (2004 US Drama, Rated R)
The Full Monty (1997 UK Comedy-Drama, Rated R)
The Trip (2011 UK Comedy-Drama, Rated R)
Wonder Boys (2000 US Drama-Comedy, Rated R)

May we all enjoy and be enriched by our viewing entertainment!  Namaste. ~Gina

Links for researching movies:
http://www.commonsensemedia.org/
http://www.imdb.com/
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/
http://www.wikipedia.org/

*Note: This post updated March 18, 2014 to improve your reading pleasure!

Home Fires Burning

A

few

tips to

keep your

loving

fires

hot!

|

Share about your day

Ask about their day

Talk about dreams

Exchange hugs

Compliment

Give back rubs

Give gifts

Tuck notes

Smile often

Slow down

Encourage

Apologize

Forgive

Listen

Touch

Respect

Be kind

Be polite

Be gentle

Be patient

Be positive

Be vulnerable

Laugh together

Date once a week

Accept differences

Celebrate birthdays

Have a song to be Our Song

Spend quality time together

Reminisce about falling in love

Start and end each day with a kiss

rumi Lovers 450

A Brand New Year!

Happy New Year 2013

I like the dreams of the futureMay 2013 be a wondrous year of moving towards real and lasting peace on earth. May we all enjoy meaningful work. May we all be housed, and fed, and loved.

May we all do our part with every person, event and situation before us to BE the change we want to see in the world, as we shine our inner light outwards and bring calmness and lovingkindness.

May we all step boldly in the direction of our dreams and live the life we have imagined. This is our year to live it!

if one advances confidently

every tomorrow has two handles“Faith is like radar that sees through the fog; the reality of things at a distance that the human eye cannot see.” ~ Corrie Ten Boom

“Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation.” ~ Elton Trueblood

“Faith goes up the stairs that love has built and looks out the window which hope has opened.” ~ Charles Spurgeon

The ability to laugh at oneself

Nobody stands taller than those willing to stand corrected.  ~William Safire


Being able to laugh at ourselves is incredibly freeing. And it’s not only about having a sense of humor,
~ it’s about humility.

It’s one of those self-observances that offers me another reason for gratitude at aging. Yes, aging. Getting older has rewards, such as when I observe how I react to something with an awareness that in my thirties or twenties I may not have been so calm (or humble, or mindful) to even notice. While I believe ‘growing up’ is a lifelong process, the years offer wisdom if we choose to live with awareness.

Yesterday my husband and I brought our dog for the short drive to a huge dog park, rather than just throwing the ball in the off-leash field at the end of the block. At first, our shepherd-collie cross got so excited about the other dogs that we held onto the ball and just walked the circuit for a while as she happily shared her enthusiasm for all her canine-kin. Her life spent living with three humans and three cats must wear on her at times, especially considering her life-before-me involved hardships like starvation and living year-round outdoors, neglected, but still! she was surrounded by other dogs. Now she is ever at my side, flopped on one or another floor beds (when not chasing balls!) and living an indulgent life as a loved indoor, albeit solo, dog.

So here we were at the dog park, laughing with other owners as they said to her, “Oh, you’re just so excited, aren’t you?” because her leaps and wagging tail and little barks made her joy clearly evident. It took a while for her to calm down and start to look at us with that intense ‘Ball? Where’s the Ball!’ gaze. Hubby and I paced ourselves between the groups of people and dogs walking along the path, and began to offer little throws. Short throws are rather challenging with using a ball-chucker, one of those brilliant inventions of hard molded-plastic that create distance with throwing a ball. Short spans can be difficult, however short throws are required in a crowded dog park. You can’t throw too far to have the ball come into the area of other groups of dogs and people (or risk hitting anyone) and not off the path because of the long weeds and thick grass waiting to trap and lose yet another ball. Add to that the fact that we have to keep our eyes open for ball-mad dogs, those types obsessed enough to steal any ball they see thrown! Finding the windows of opportunity to throw the ball can become rather small. 

Hubby was mastering it pretty well though. While we often trade off, he was in charge of the ball-chucker because I was carrying the poop-bag. Ah yes, the joys of responsible pet-ownership in a park with bins only in the parking lot, so you have to walk the full circuit around a massive wild area carrying your fur-kids’ trophy. And although he offers to help carry, I claim it as the primary dog-person. So he was ball-chucking and I was cheering him on. Until one time when we had an opening of some distance ahead and he got ready to launch, dog-daughter eyes entranced and breath held, and then the release went straight DOWN, hitting hard into the dirt only a couple of feet in front of us, barely missing our dog!

I gave out a sigh and said quietly, “Here” with an outreached hand for the ball-chucker. “Let me.” He handed it over to me, and we kept walking, waiting for another opening without groups too close. A minute later there was a good opening, and I was ready to let sail a short throw. So I lifted and released – and the ball went STRAIGHT DOWN, barely missing our dog, in the exact same arc that he had just thrown! I could not have more perfectly mimicked his ‘flawed’ throw if I tried. We both burst out laughing. Myself, so hard, I had to stop and bend over, placing a hand on his to steady myself. Breathless, I stood and smiled at him as I said, “Is now when you offer me some humble-pie? I’ll eat it, that’s for sure” but he said “No” through his laughter, displaying his quiet strength. “Oh you’ll just wait on fate and the Universe to serve it up to me, right?” I said with a laugh, to which he nodded and agreed with a big smile, “Apparently!”

Oh how I love that man. When I remember the cruel sarcasm and instant arguments in my long ago past, from partners fiery and impulsive like myself, I feel deep gratitude that my soul mate ended up being such a Zen-like, grounded balance for my frequently fervent, quick reactions.

I fully believe that as we grow in self-awareness, lessons come back to us much more quickly. This was an amazing example to me, because it happened right after his throw, which led to my gesture for the chucker. Yes I throw for our dog every day and he throws much more rarely. So I was thinking: My turn! Let me ‘do it right’ and the Universe (God) said ‘Here! Have some humble-pie’.

We do not always have to eat our words. Sometimes we have to eat our actions.
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A fellow blogger’s quote that inspired me with writing this post:

“Life is made of tragicomically controversial moments. One man’s painful fall may cause a bystander to burst into an inappropriate laugh. While in stitches ridiculing the clumsiness of a stranger, the bystander himself may slip on a banana skin and fall hard… Though hurting really badly – through all the moaning – he’d start laughing even harder. Why? Because he sees the irony in what happened to him.” 

Please click link to read full article and enjoy further: http://nyparrot.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/good-humor-me-classical-music-little-nightmare-concert/

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A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.  ~Benjamin Franklin

Blushing is the color of virtue.  ~Diogenes

We come nearest to the great when we are great in humility.  ~Rabindranath Tagore

True merit, like a river, the deeper it is, the less noise it makes.  ~Edward Frederick Halifax

Wear your learning like your watch, in a private pocket; and do not pull it out, and strike it, merely to show that you have one.  ~Lord Chesterfield