Thu, 29 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700Leaders of a growing Muslim community in Memphis, Tennessee, wanted to build an Islamic center where they could gather not just to worship, but to host weddings and other parties; gather on weekends and holidays; house a day care for children; and have activities for the elderly. When they finally succeeded in purchasing a plot of land opposite a church, Dr. Bashir Shala, head of the board of trustees for the Memphis Islamic Center, expected hostility. "Memphis is the buckle of the Bible Belt," Shala says. Pastor Steve Stone of Heartsong Church, had something else in mind.
Wed, 28 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700"What gifts can we offer gifted children? How can we who are their guardians do justice by them? The first gift is not to praise them for their talents alone. Just as a beautiful child is often praised only for their beauty, and grows simultaneously vain and insecure, an intelligent child can easily learn that their mind is what makes them lovable...Instead, give these children the gift of praise for attributes that have nothing to do with intelligence. Praise their kindness, their empathy, their bravery and strength. Praise their hearts and souls... This is the balm for a lonely child's heart." Here Betsy Cornwell outlines other gifts we can offer gifted children: ordinariness, time, courage to leap, and community.
Tue, 27 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700Known as India's very own "Jurassic Park," the Balasinor Fossil Park lies nestled in the tiny Raiyoli village of Gujarat's Khera district. And guarding the Park's 65-million-year-old eggs is a fiercely passionate, dinosaur-loving former princess, Aaliya Sultana Babi. Aaliya fell in love with the fossil beds when she was a teenager and is now an enthusiastic promoter and protector of the precious and awe-inspiring site.
Mon, 26 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700On August 8, 2013, Ceciliana Skees and other sisters from Loretto and several other convents attended an informational meeting held by representatives of the Bluegrass Pipeline. A joint venture between Williams and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, the project would have transported natural gas liquids from fracking fields in Pennsylvania and Ohio southwest across Kentucky to connect with an existing pipeline to the Gulf of Mexico, with Loretto's land directly in its path. Frustrated with what they saw as a lack of helpful information, several of the sisters, including Skees, gathered in the center of the room and broke into song. A video of the sisters singing "Amazing Grace" was picked up by media outlets, and reached hundreds of thousands of people. Read on to learn more about these active nuns, and how they stopped the pipeline in its tracks.
Sun, 25 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700"As a horsewoman, I've come to see that so many theories that work with eliciting real learning and collaboration for horses, work magically with their human counterparts. The brilliant horseman and trainer (as well as second degree aikido black belt), Mark Rashid, teaches how to reward the try, which rewards a horse in response to any of his micro-tries towards the desired action. "Because we are constantly looking for the big thing (the flawless lead change, the effortless transition, the sliding stop), we often look right past the most important part--the try that tells us our horse is understanding our request," he writes. The more sensitive one becomes to the smallest of tries towards the right thing, and the quicker one rewards those tries, the quicker and more solidly the horse learns and grows. It's the same for us. The more respect we can give ourselves or each other for the 'micro tries', the quicker and more solidly we can grow." Kelly Wendorf shares more about the power of small in this insightful piece.
Sat, 24 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700Fleet Maull founded Prison Dharma Network in 1989 while serving a 14.5 year mandatory-minimum sentence for drug smuggling at a maximum security federal prison medical facility. He led a twice weekly meditation group in the prison chapel for 14 years and also helped start the first inside prison hospice program and provided daily care to dying prisoners until his release. In 1991, he founded National Prison Hospice Association, catalyzing a national prison hospice movement that now includes more than 75 hospice programs in state and federal correctional facilities in the United States. Fleet recalled in a recent interview, "Most prisoners are doing everything they can not to experience being there. They consider their time in prison down time, as if it doesn't really count...People are trying to kill time. But I didn't want to throw away fourteen years of my life. I was determined to be present, to learn everything I could from this, to use this as an opportunity to wake up." He shares more from his journey in this in-depth interview.
Fri, 23 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700Running has been known to alleviate a host of society's woes -- childhood obesity, stress, drug addiction. . . and now we can add homelessness to the list. Not through a 5K fundraiser as one might think, but through a program that actually empowers homeless people to run. Since 2007, Back on My Feet has been providing homeless people the opportunity to experience the many benefits of running by giving them new gear and organizing early-morning running groups. The goal is to restore their confidence, strength, and self-esteem. Runners sign a dedication contract vowing they will run a certain number of days a week. Should they stick with the program they receive classes in financial literacy and job skills and further support. This piece tells the inspirational story of Kevin Gonzales, a Back on My Feet member who took his running to the next level by setting an even higher goal for himself -- the New York City Marathon -- and found hope along the way.