Subway Stories: The Goodwill Donut

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So, I saw this on my ride home today. I didn’t open it, although I must say I kept thinking if I did, maybe there would money inside — or a secret key to the “kingdom.” As you can imagine, the rest of the subway home was filled with me making a story out of this act of goodwill. My imagination went, so-called, “down-the-rabbit-hole” with this prop. So in a way, it served it’s purpose of feeding the hungry. Despite all the hungry people in this city, I truly doubt someone took this auspicious package and hope someone didn’t call and report it. If I see it on the news tonight, I won’t be shocked.

Somehow, I know exactly how, *I* ended up sitting next to this thing. I hurried in the subway (New Yorkers know this means I pulled a DEFCON5-worthy-sprint in my booties from the top of the stairs to make it in before the doors closed and left me in a concrete cave of dreary for 15 minutes), and took a seat the first place I could, which happened to be right next to this sign. I sat there, because no one was sitting around that area, and since people generally don’t like touching on the subway, it seemed like a good spot. I was the only one around it (again, I was alone-ish), because people were avoiding the thing like the plague. They were curious though. When I sat down, noticed it and took a picture of it some brave soul across the car asked me what it said. He was unamused. Clearly not hungry and care not about Hamlet. For the rest of the ride new subway entrees looked at me as if maybe I placed it there and sat down so I could watch who took it. Since living in New York I’ve had to perfect that, “I don’t know what to tell you, but I didn’t do it” gaze.

This auspicious package though, brightened my day. I truly hope it did feed someone hungry, besides myself.

Happy Veteran’s Day

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On a day like this, I usually try not to think about it. I don’t like to get into war. I don’t like to think about how many men and women have died in its zealous shadow. More than that, I don’t like to think about the cause that propelled them to care enough to sacrifice their own lives. Because it had to have been horrible. People had to have been suppressed somewhere in the world, for them to have been there — for the US to become involved. Of course that is not the only reason we invade places, but I like to think it’s the reason why citizens become soldiers, to help other people. Veteran’s Day makes me feel like one extremely selfish person. Not to mention cowardly. It is a travesty how many loved ones have been lost. There are no words to describe the feeling of gratitude that someone has toward a person who has protected them. If not for actual protection, at least for the feeling of having it.

Although I have considered it in multiple points of my life, I have never been in the armed services. However, my grandpa, Papa Nick, was. He was a Marine. I wear his Marine bracelet proudly. I found his bracelet shortly after my aunt passed away, and I was digging through the family things she left behind. I never met my grandpa. Actually that’s a lie. He died very shortly after I was born from lung cancer, but according to my mom he used to take me and my sister (we are twins) when we were wee little things, and he would hold us, one in each arm, and take us into his bedroom and nap with us. I like to think he told us all the secrets he learned, that he told me how to dig deep and be brave. He told me the only kind of guy he would accept to be my husband, and promised me he wouldn’t let anything harm us. It is so odd how even now I feel him. I feel him all the time. When I was little I used to think about him watching over me when I was going through something hard, and I would hold out my hand, and I swear I could feel him hold my hand back. 

This grew into writing letters. I write my grandfather letters all the time. I used to do so more when I was younger. I would write him and then rip up the letter into a million pieces and say a prayer and then throw it out the window — to the wind and to his spirit. At the time I didn’t realize I was littering. Now, I don’t rip them up and throw them to the wind. Later on, my great-grandfather, Raymond Atherton, on my step-dad’s side (who has turned into a wise, grandfather-like figure) would pass away, and eventually I started writing letters to both of them. My “grandad” as we called him, was alive long enough for me to know him. I will never forget his hugs and his smile. He laughed so much. He helped coach me through those tough years of adolescence. He hugged me without any questions and set the bar for father-figures in my family. 

They were both World War II veterans. I know that Ray was in the Navy, and I heard him only tell positive stories from his time at war, although my great-grandmother tells me his experience was all but positive. I see him as so wise and kind, I can’t imagine him at war. He must have hated it. 

My Papa Nick flew a Corsair fighter plane. In a picture he has next to it, the plane has a giant pelican caricature flexing his muscles with a fighter jacket on. Next to it was written, “The Ragin’ Cajun,” his nick-name. I wear his Marine bracelet every day. But I think about it the most when I fly. I might not be flying the plane, but I like to thing my grandpa is up there behind the wheel ensuring I land safely. 

To the men and women who have dedicated their lives to fighting for the United States of America and everything it symbolizes. I don’t deserve to wear this bracelet, but it reminds me every day of the price people pay for the freedoms we have. I extend to you a thank you. Thank you for your time, and your bravery. Thank you for your sacrifice.

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Thoughts To Live By

It’s hard to navigate yourself sometimes. Lately, I keep running into turmoil in my relationships. This happens every so often, and hating turmoil the way I do, every time it happens it throws me off balance. Not to mention it just hurts. So, to help keep me calm and inspired I’m collecting the things that motivate me here. These things remind me why I am who I am and of what I can do for other people, even when it’s sometimes challenging. Fights, misunderstandings, lost friendships or relationships of any kind, hurt. You can take the angry approach, or you can collect yourself and remember that in the scheme of things, the petty things just don’t matter. It’s exhausting, but for me at least, it helps so much to collect yourself. Sometimes, I just need a reminder.

1) There are always enough seats at the table. Always, for anyone. Don’t compete, instead encourage. The more lights that shine, the better.

2) Be the peacekeeper.

3) If someone is jealous of something you have or do or just of you in general, they will find any way they can to hate you or pick on you. They will find a way and reason to not like you and there is nothing you can do about it. There is no winning there, so stay yourself. The only people who want to take from your cup are the ones who want to fill theirs. Because they, for whatever reason have deemed theirs empty, and they see yours as more full. Let them take, knowing they will continue to take until something changes their mind to not want it anymore. Hopefully at some point, they will leave you alone, get bored, or move on.

4) Keep the faith.

5) As crazy as it sounds, What would Maya Angelou do if she felt this way or was in this situation? Or Hilary, how would she handle it? What kind of respect and grace would she show?

6) Do not let someone else’s negativity alter your positivity.

7) Give, more than anything else you do.

8) Rise above it.

9) Sometimes, your idea of strong is so different than their idea of strong. Remember the greats who succeeded with a strength similar to yours. And remember you would still be as strong, if you were in the street homeless. Your hope and kindness and love is your strength. No other material things add real value to your life. You are what is inside of you.

10) Water erodes rock, and when needed, creates it’s own path.

11) Remember almost all problems involve ego. Check it. There is no such thing as too humble. I need to humble myself as often as it takes and remember when I don’t, God will through situations. I have to remind myself of this, all the time.

12) Be non-threatening and kind, and if they look at you as a threat anyways, you know it’s their issue. Most of the time it stems from somewhere in them you have no power to reach.

13) There is always time, especially for healing.

14) You’re not done yet. This tiff or the next won’t end you, just try and find your peace.

15) Write it down. Thank you. I feel so much better and will continue to add to this as I think of things.

16) Most of the time, someone is mad at you because they feel like you took from them. Whether you did or didn’t, or whether it was intentional or not… They probably haven’t gotten to that thought process yet, and just feel wronged and are reacting to that feeling. Keep that in mind instead of getting angry. Realize the the person is probably hurt and feeling wronged and that is behind their actions toward you.

17) When you’re 80, this won’t matter, just like when you were 10… Those fights didn’t matter like you thought they would.

18) Life is too short for bullshit. That is a direct quote from my mother, and it was told to me in another emotional struggle I was going through in college. I believe to date it is my favorite saying. I come to it probably weekly and use it to help me make a choice on whether or not to let something upset me. I love it because it is so direct and true. It’s such a raw and beautiful way to sift what matters from what doesn’t. The bullshit, all of it, life is too short for it. My mother has told me so many wonderful things, most of which are on this list, but I still think this one takes the cake. Don’t put up with it, if it’s bullshit.

How Social Media Can Help Find Your Missing Child [infographic]

Originally posted to Crowdsourcingweek.com.

Find Your Missing Child (FYMC) was founded after a social media and email campaign helped one man find his missing child. Its goal is to educate families about the community-building powers of social media and email to aid in the search of a missing child.

Using resources like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more, Find Your Missing Child pulls together your online community in hopes of yielding real world results. JESS3 was honored to design a helpful infographic for such a unique non-profit.

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Coachella by the “Likes” [infographic] by JESS3

Originally posted to Business2Community.

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In anticipation of this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, JESS3 created ‘Coachella by the “Likes”‘ infographic. JESS3 measured each band’s placement on the lineup (each tier represents the line of the poster the band appears on) with their number of Facebook fans on each band’s official Facebook page. The question JESS3 begs: are the most popular acts are getting their proper share of the spotlight?

Now, eight bands weren’t on Facebook, so they aren’t included. Also, like in the instance of  Jurassic 5, a band that has an auto-generated community page as well as an official Facebook page, we only included the official Facebook page data in the infographic.

Considering the data, for the most part, headliners are in the right place. The notable exceptions include German DJ Paul Kalkbrenner with the second highest number of Facebook fans overall but a mid-level placement, and Cafe Tacvba from Mexico with over one million “likes” due to its international audience.

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