Saturday . . . the end of the week. Most people's first of a two day off weekend. Time to relax and do not a lot if anything at all. Time to have a bit of a lie in, extra kip, an indulgent breakfast, and to catch up on all of the news of the previous week. I think a little good news helps to cheer anyone's day!
Second-grader Christian Bucks, of York, Pa., knew that some of his classmates felt lonely during recess, and he decided to do something about it. His simple, utterly heartwarming solution was to install a playground "buddy bench."
As reported by the York Daily Record, a buddy bench is a designated seating area where students feeling lonely or upset can seek camaraderie. The area is customarily painted in bright, inviting colors. Bucks first spotted a buddy bench in a brochure for a school in Germany, according to the Record. He pitched the idea to Roundtown Elementary School Principal Matthew Miller, who immediately got on board. Miller even let Bucks help pick the bench's style and colors.
Jessica Eaves from Guthrie, Oklahoma recently had her wallet stolen by a man while she was grocery shopping. Most people in that situation would immediately get the authorities involved, but she found a way to resolve her problem herself.
"I saw this gentleman down the aisle from me," Jessica tells us. "He walked behind me, and when I got a couple of aisles over, I realized my wallet was gone." "I spotted him in a crowded aisle and approached him," she continues. "I'm a pretty out-there personality, but I was quiet and calm." "I said to him, 'I think you have something of mine. I'm gonna give you a choice. You can either give me my wallet and I'll forgive you right now, and I'll even take you to the front and pay for your groceries."
The alternative? Jessica reporting him to the police. "He reached into his hoodie pocket and gave me my wallet," she recalls, adding that the man was extremely grateful for her help and forgiveness.
"He started crying when we walked up to the front," she says. "He said he was sorry about 20 times by the time we went from the pickle aisle to the front. He told me he was desperate."
She spent $27 on his groceries, which included milk, bread, bologna, crackers, soup and cheese. "The last thing he said was, 'I'll never forget tonight. I'm broke, I have kids, I'm embarrassed and I'm sorry.'"
"Some people are critical because I didn't turn him in, but sometimes all you need is a second chance," she adds.
Proof that you're never too young to make an impact, a 3-year-old with brain cancer is doing his best to brighten the holidays for other sick kids. In 2011, rambunctious toddler Bennett Nester began falling down a lot and would hold his head. He was admitted to the Texas Children's Hospital the week before Christmas, and was diagnosed with a tumor pressing on his brain stem.During his hospitalization, Bennett received a present from two sisters who had lost a sibling to cancer. They gave him a Build-A-Bear, and included the message, "These are for the kids who don't go home for Christmas."
"Right then, we said we are doing this next year," said Bennett's father Randy Nester. "We have to pay this forward."
The family launched Bennett's Bears, collecting as many of the stuffed toys as possible and delivering them to children in the hospital who need cheering up around the holidays.
The Nester family received around 250 bears last year. This year, they received twice as many.
"It is fantastic. We smiled for a very long time," Randy said. "You are able to put a smile on their face for a few minutes and make them feel like they are not in a hospital bed. Make them feel like they are at home again."
Bennett is still receiving chemotherapy, but he hasn't lost his joy for helping others.
If you'd like to donate either a Build-A-Bear toy or gift card to Bennett's Bears, head here.
A Massachusetts couple lost everything in a house fire. On November 24th, John and Peggy Ford's house in Braintree, MA caught fire. The couple and their dog survived, but all their belongings and both cars were gone, and the home destroyed. They had raised their family in that house, built for them by Habitat for Humanity 19 years ago. Countless goodhearted people, many of them strangers to the couple, began raising money for them through an online fundraiser. More than $7,000 was raised in just a few days.
"When there's a moment like this in your lives, people do pull together," says John. "It's great. It's just humbling."
"We'll pay it forward," said Peggy. "That's what we were taught to do, so we will."
That's not just lip service. The Fords don't plan to keep all the money they've received. Instead, they've decided to donate it to those suffering from the typhoon that recently ravaged the Philippines.
In a world that mired in all that's negative, it does the heart good to read about the positivity that happens and which we rarely ever hear about!!
My baby boy turns 25 tomorrow. He and Sara are in Boston for the weekend, a Birthday present from Sara to him. He is mad about the Boston Bruins and his birthday present is to go to a Bruins game in person. Apparently yesterday he was able to watch them at practice.
Now THAT'S a smile! (He only ever very rarely smiles in photos for some reason.) It looks like they are having a lovely time. I'm sure this will go down as his favourite birthday of all time!
Shall I leave you with a thought for today? But of course!
"Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world.
We cannot cure the world of sorrows,
but we can choose to live in joy."
Baking in The English Kitchen today . . . delicious, spicy, crisp and buttery Speculaas! These taste like the real deal!
Have a wonderful Saturday!