Geriatric gymnast impresses crowd at German competition
2012-03-30, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-11-13 10:48:14
Johanna Quaas performed an impressive parallel bar and floor demonstration after finals concluded at Germany's Cottbus Challenger Cup. Displaying balance, strength and flexibility that would be the envy of someone a quarter her age, Quaas's floor routine included a handstand forward roll, cartwheel, backward roll and headstand while on the bars she performed a full planche, holding her body taught and parallel to the ground. A multiple time senior champion of artistic gymnastics in Germany, Quaas, from Halle in Saxony only took up gymnastics when she was 30, putting paid to the belief that the sport is the preserve of the young.
Note: Don't miss the amazing video of this highly inspiring woman at the link above.
Child Prodigy Writes Opera at Age 7
2012-10-23, ABC News
Posted: 2012-11-13 10:46:33
Alma Deutscher is already an accomplished musician; she’s mastered the piano and the violin. Now she can add composing her own opera to the list — and she’s only seven years old. Like so many other child prodigies, she plays beautifully. But what sets her apart is her ability to write, and improvise, classical music. Deutscher can sit at the piano and create music that sounds as if it had been written for her. Robert Gjerdingen, professor of music theory and cognition at Northwestern’s Bienen School of Music, ... has been helping the Deutscher family teach Alma in a classic style that encourages her ability to improvise. “Usually prodigies excel in reproducing music, not in creating it.” The young musician hails from the country town of Surrey, England, and has always showed a passion for the arts. “It was striking that when she was about three, she heard a lullaby by Richard Straus,” says her mother, Janie Deutscher. “And she came to us and said, ‘How can music be so beautiful?’ She was so struck by the beauty of it.” For her most recent project, Alma composed a seven-minute opera called ‘The Sweeper of Dreams.” She woke up one morning with a musical theme in her head and with the help of her father, who is also an amateur musician, she recorded the theme on the piano. She later fashioned the theme she recorded into a seven-minute “mini-opera” for a competition held by the English National Opera, which praised her work. “Normally when I try to think of ideas, it doesn’t come,” she said. But “when I’m improvising, then I have lots of ideas.”
Note: For deeply inspiring reports from major media sources, click here.
Can babies teach school kids not to bully?
2011-12-21, Toronto Star (One of Toronto's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-11-13 10:39:57
Teacher Raya patrols a group of giggly kindergarten students, looking each so deeply in the eye that many squirm and bashfully reach for her toes. Her father carries her in his arms. Raya is not quite five months old. She’s teaching them about being kind and how to talk about their feelings so that later, they don’t terrorize each other. Teacher Raya, as they call her, is a “volunteer” with Roots of Empathy, [Canada's] oldest and largest anti-bullying program. Kids in 900 classrooms around the province [of Ontario] are taking similar lessons from similarly beautiful babies. So are kids in New Zealand, Seattle, the Isle of Man. . . It’s such a simple concept: if kids learn to empathize with babies — the most vulnerable humans — then their antennae for kindness will be turned on. Put another way, once they learn to worry about a baby’s feelings, they’ll start to worry about everyone’s. Since kindergarten teacher Mary Gordon launched it 16 years ago, the program’s effects have been analyzed by dozens of academics. Most of them conclude the program fosters “pro-social behaviour” and dampens aggression. A Manitoba study published earlier this year concluded the program cut student fights in half immediately and continued to “promote optimal social contact” three years later. It’s one thing to legislate against bullying, as Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has done with his Safe Schools Act. It’s quite another to stop kids from tormenting each other in the first place (the province has provided about $2 million annually [for] Roots of Empathy since 2009).
Note: For deeply inspiring reports from major media sources, click here.
Detroit’s Good Food Cure
2012-09-06, Yes! Magazine
Posted: 2012-11-08 09:15:57
Weekend mornings are the busiest days of the week at D-Town Farm. That’s when up to 30 volunteers from across Detroit come out to till the earth and tend the crops at the seven-acre mini-farm on the city’s west side. “One of our goals is to present healthy eating to people,” says Malik Yakini, Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN), which runs D-Town. “We think that healthy eating optimizes a good life generally. A diet close to nature allows the human body to function the way it is supposed to function.” D-Town is set in one of the city’s greenest areas, a former tree nursery in the 1,184-acre River Rouge Park. It’s ... about a mile upriver from the Brightmoor, a formerly devastated neighborhood that boasts no fewer than 22 community gardens. The Detroit City Council granted use of the land to DBCFSN in 2008. Nowhere in the United States has urban agriculture taken root as prolifically as in Detroit. This gardening renaissance has been growing for over two decades since the Gardening Angels, a group of southern-born African-Americans, began growing food and passing their agricultural knowledge on to another generation. There are more than 1,200 community gardens in Detroit—more per square mile and more per capita than in any other American city. DBCFSN’s goals include empowering African-Americans within the food system and providing fresh, healthy foods in an area where access is not a given. Detroit was among the communities declared food deserts by researcher Mari Gallagher in 2007.
Note: For deeply inspiring reports from major media sources, click here.
A Simple Fix for Farming
2012-10-19, New York Times blog
Posted: 2012-10-30 11:34:05
It's becoming clear that we can grow all the food we need, and profitably, with far fewer chemicals. Conventional agriculture can shed much of its chemical use - if it wants to. What may be the most important agricultural study this year ... was done on land owned by Iowa State University called the Marsden Farm. On 22 acres of it, beginning in 2003, researchers set up three plots: one replicated the typical Midwestern cycle of planting corn one year and then soybeans the next, along with its routine mix of chemicals. On another, they planted a three-year cycle that included oats; the third plot added a four-year cycle and alfalfa. The longer rotations also integrated the raising of livestock, whose manure was used as fertilizer. The results were stunning: The longer rotations produced better yields of both corn and soy, reduced the need for nitrogen fertilizer and herbicides by up to 88 percent, reduced the amounts of toxins in groundwater 200-fold and didn't reduce profits by a single cent. In short, there was only upside - and no downside at all - associated with the longer rotations. There was an increase in labor costs, but remember that profits were stable. So this is a matter of paying people for their knowledge and smart work instead of paying chemical companies for poisons. And it's a high-stakes game; according to the Environmental Protection Agency, about five billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the United States.
Girl earns $30K at lemonade stand to end slavery
2012-08-20, KGO-TV Channel 7 (SF Bay Area ABC affiliate)
Posted: 2012-10-30 11:05:52
In the city of Fairfax, a stand is being made against human trafficking, and its leader is an 8-year-old girl. Vivienne Harr has set up her 'Make a Stand' lemonade stand for 57 straight days. She's on a mission to raise at least $150,000 that will go towards ending world slavery. Harr uses only fair trade lemons for her drink. "And it's really hard to find fair-trade things. We're buying fair trade things because ... you can't be freeing slaves and having them to work harder for the cause that you're trying to do to help them be free," said Harr. In less than two months, Harr has already earned more than $30,000. Much of that is from donations. By the way, Harr has a Twitter account which has 15,000 followers, including pop star Katy Perry.
Note: For a great, inspiring five-minute video on this amazing eight-year-old girl, click here. And she's up to almost $50,000 as of late October 2012.
Scott Neeson left Hollywood to save children rooting in Cambodia's garbage dumps
2012-08-10, Christian Science Monitor
Posted: 2012-10-30 11:03:49
Scott Neeson's final epiphany came one day in June 2004. The high-powered Hollywood executive stood, ankle deep in trash, at the sprawling landfill of Stung Meanchey, a poor shantytown in Cambodia's capital. Neeson, a former head of 20th Century Fox International, [now] cares for more than 1,000 Cambodian children and their families. Doing the right thing meant turning his back on a successful career in the movie business, with his $1 million salary. Instead, he would dedicate himself full time to a new mission: to save hundreds of the poorest children in one of the world's poorest countries. Much to everyone's surprise, within months the Australian native, who as president of 20th Century Fox International had overseen the global success of block-busters like "Titanic," "Braveheart," and "Die Another Day," quit Hollywood. He sold his mansion in Los Angeles and held a garage sale for "all the useless stuff I owned." He sold off his Porsche and yacht, too. His sole focus would now be his charity, the Cambodian Children's Fund. "The perks in Hollywood were good – limos, private jets, gorgeous girlfriends, going to the Academy Awards," says Neeson. "You've got to take the ego out of it," he says. "One person's self-indulgence versus the needs of hundreds of children, that's the moral equation." On the walls of his office, next to movie posters signed by Hollywood stars, are before-and-after pictures of Cambodian children. Each pair tells a Cinderella story: A little ragamuffin, standing or squatting in rubbish, transforms in a later shot into a beaming, healthy child in a crisp school uniform.
Note: For deeply inspiring reports from major media sources, click here.
Philippines and Muslim rebels sign key peace plan
2012-10-15, BBC News
Posted: 2012-10-23 09:25:34
The Philippines has signed a framework peace plan with the country's largest Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The deal follows lengthy negotiations aimed at ending a 40-year conflict that has cost an estimated 120,000 lives. The agreement was reached in early October after talks in Malaysia. It provides for a new autonomous region in part of the south where Muslims are a majority in a mainly Catholic nation. The framework deal was signed by the chief negotiators of the government and the rebels, and witnessed by President Benigno Aquino and MILF leader Murad Ebrahim at the presidential palace in Manila. In the rebels' main headquarters, there is a real sense of optimism about this deal. Hundreds of fighters converged here from their jungle hideouts, to listen to the signing of the agreement being relayed on loudspeakers. They excitedly posed for photos with each other to mark the occasion. But these rebels - like both sides on the negotiating panel - know this is only the start of a long process. The new autonomous region would be named Bangsamoro, after the Moros - or Moors, which was how the Spanish used to refer to the followers of Islam - living there. The draft agreement would give the leaders of Bangsamoro more political and economic powers, and provides for the gradual transfer of law enforcement from the army to the Bangsamoro police in a "phased and gradual manner". The framework also promises the people a "just and equitable share" of the region's abundant natural resources, and pledges to address the needs of poverty-stricken communities.
Note: This is one of many hopeful signs in our world. The intense Aceh conflict in Indonesia which lasted may decades and took many thousands of lives has also now been resolved peacefully.
Cross in the Closet: Straight Christian Lives a Year as Gay Man
2012-10-11, ABC News
Posted: 2012-10-16 10:37:45
In his Nashville Christian church, Timothy Kurek was taught the lesson of God's wrath in the Biblical story of "Sodom and Gomorrah," and he believed that homosexuality was a sin. But about four years ago, when a lesbian he knew from karaoke night confided to him that her parents had disowned her when she came out, Kurek felt that he failed her. He wondered what it felt like to be gay and so alone. So even though Kurek identifies as straight, he embarked on what one religious writer called "spiritual espionage." He would live like a gay man for a year. Now 26 and no longer homophobic, Kurek writes about his journey -- one that included hanging out in gay bars and facing the disappointment of his family and rejection of his friends -- in his memoir, The Cross in the Closet. Only three people knew the truth, and he needed them to carry out his audacious project: his closest friend, an aunt and Shawn, a gay friend whom Kurek also met at karaoke night. Kind-hearted Shawn, whom Kurek described as "a big black burly teddy bear," became his "pretend boyfriend." But most of all, Shawn was the "first gay person that I let into my heart," said Kurek. "He was totally there for me through emotional turmoil ... I trusted him." Rev. Connie Waters, a protestant minister and LGBT ally from Memphis ... said she was "proud" of him. "The transformation in him was life-changing," she said. "It's what you hope for -- the goal of the Christian walk of faith. It's enough for me that he transformed, but if others learn from him, what an extra blessing that is."
Note: For more on this amazing story, click here.
Heaven Is Real: A Doctor’s Experience With the Afterlife
2012-10-08, Daily Beast/Newsweek
Posted: 2012-10-16 10:36:27
As a neurosurgeon, I did not believe in the phenomenon of near-death experiences. In the fall of 2008, however, after seven days in a coma during which the human part of my brain, the neocortex, was inactivated, I experienced something so profound that it gave me a scientific reason to believe in consciousness after death. I had somehow contracted a very rare bacterial meningitis that mostly attacks newborns. E. coli bacteria had penetrated my cerebrospinal fluid and were eating my brain. For seven days I lay in a deep coma, my body unresponsive, my higher-order brain functions totally offline. While the neurons of my cortex were stunned to complete inactivity by the bacteria that had attacked them, my brain-free consciousness journeyed to another, larger dimension of the universe: the same one described by countless subjects of near-death experiences and other mystical states—is there. It exists, and what I saw and learned there has placed me quite literally in a new world: a world where we are much more than our brains and bodies, and where death is not the end of consciousness but rather a chapter in a vast, and incalculably positive, journey. For most of my journey, someone else was with me. A woman. Without using any words, she spoke to me. The message went through me like a wind, and I instantly understood that it was true. I knew so in the same way that I knew that the world around us was real—was not some fantasy, passing and insubstantial. “You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever.” “You have nothing to fear.” “There is nothing you can do wrong.”
Note: The author of this stirring account, Dr. Eben Alexander, has been a neurosurgeon for the past 25 years. His engaging book on this life-changing experience is Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife. For video interviews and other information on Dr. Alexander, click here. For other highly inspiring resources and stories related to near-death experiences, click here.
Sir Nicholas Winton, the 'British Schindler', meets the Holocaust survivors he helped save
2009-09-04, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-10-16 10:34:51
By virtue of the foresight, humanity and sheer bloody-mindedness of a young British stockbroking clerk called Nicholas Winton, 669 Jewish children were saved from the clutches of the Nazis. On Friday, 22 of them were reunited with their 100-year-old saviour – now Sir Nicholas – who has come to be known as the 'British Schindler'. Between March and August 1939 eight trains carried 669 children to Britain, who otherwise would probably have perished in the death camps. Fifteen thousand Czechoslovakian children died in the war. The ninth train, containing 250 children, was due to leave Prague on 3 September 1939, the day Britain declared war. The Germans never let it leave the station, and most of the children never lived to see 1945. Almost as remarkable as the scheme itself, and a mark of Sir Nicholas's modesty, was that he chose to conceal his achievements for decades.
It was only when he wife Greta unearthed a briefcase in the attic contained lists of the children he saved and letters to the parents did he admit his part.
He said in 1999: "My wife didn't know about it for 40 years after our marriage, but there are all kinds of things you don't talk about even with your family. "Everything that happened before the war actually didn't feel important in the light of the war itself." He also rejected the comparison with Oskar Schindler, who saved about 1,200 Jews in the war, saying unlike the German his actions never put him in danger.
Note: For a touching, short video on this amazing story, click here. To listen to the story on NPR, click here.
Bhutan Bets Organic Agriculture Is The Road To Happiness
Posted: 2012-10-09 09:17:31
The tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan drew international attention a few years back for saying gross national happiness should trump gross domestic product when measuring a nation's progress. But Bhutan, which has only 700,000 people — most of whom are farmers — has another shot at international fame if it can make good on a recent pledge to become the first country in the world to convert to a 100 percent organic agricultural system. [In June] at the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, Prime Minister Jigmi Thinley said his government is developing a National Organic Policy because the country's farmers are increasingly convinced that "by working in harmony with nature, they can help sustain the flow of nature's bounties." Andre Leu, an Australian adviser to the Bhutanese government and the president of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, says it's very doable. "I don't think it's going to be that difficult given that the majority of the agricultural land is already organic by default," Leu [said]. The Ministry of Agriculture says the organic program, launched in 2007, is not just about protecting the environment. It will also train farmers in new methods that will help them grow more food and move the country closer to self-sufficiency. The ministry is now training extension workers in organic methods and giving farmers who go organic priority for government assistance.
Note: For deeply inspiring reports from reliable sources, click here.
'Psychic' parrot expected to ruffle scientific feathers
2001-02-12, USA Today
Posted: 2012-10-09 09:14:29
N'Kisi may look like an ordinary Congo African gray parrot, but she's the subject of a series of telepathy experiments by a former Cambridge University researcher who says the results are "astounding." "The parrot seems to be able to pick up her owner's thoughts with an amazing degree of accuracy," says Rupert Sheldrake, a former Royal Society researcher at Cambridge and author of Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home and Other Unexplained Powers of Animals. N'Kisi's owner, Aimee Morgana of Manhattan, ... says she first noticed N'Kisi's psychic abilities when she saw an explicit picture in the Village Voice personals. "I was thinking, 'Wow, that's a pretty naturalistic work.' " Then, she says, N'Kisi spoke from the parrot's cage across the room: "Oh, look at the pretty naked body." Sheldrake was interested. He explored N'Kisi's psychic abilities using a double-blind test. He asked Morgana to look at photographs in one room while the parrot was in a cage in another. One camera videotaped Morgana looking at photographs, another camera about 55 feet away videotaped the parrot, who made comments that seemed to correspond to many of the photos Morgana was looking at. N'Kisi made 123 comments during the test sessions, and 32 of those were "direct hits" corresponding to the images Morgana was looking at. The chances of that occurring, Sheldrake says, are less than 1 in a billion. Telepathy is made possible, he says, by the emotional bonds between people and animals. "In the case of N'Kisi, there's a very strong connection between her and Aimee."
Note: For a nine-minute video of this fascinating experiment, click here. For a sample of N'Kisi talking, click here. For a brilliant lecture by Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, the above-mentioned researcher, questioning the rigid dogmas of the current scientific paradigm, click here.
Pot compound seen as tool against cancer
2012-09-18, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2012-09-25 08:33:24
Marijuana, already shown to reduce pain and nausea in cancer patients, may be promising as a cancer-fighting agent against some of the most aggressive forms of the disease. A growing body of early research shows a compound found in marijuana - one that does not produce the plant's psychotropic high - seems to have the ability to "turn off" the activity of a gene responsible for metastasis in breast and other types of cancers. Two scientists at San Francisco's California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute first released data five years ago that showed how this compound - called cannabidiol - reduced the aggressiveness of human breast cancer cells in the lab. "The preclinical trial data is very strong, and there's no toxicity. There's really a lot of research to move ahead with and to get people excited," said Sean McAllister, who along with scientist Pierre Desprez, has been studying the active molecules in marijuana - called cannabinoids - as potent inhibitors of metastatic disease for the past decade. Martin Lee, director of Project CBD, [a] group that works to raise awareness of the scientific promise of the compound, described the cannabidiol research as potent both as a medicine and a myth buster. "It debunks the idea that medicinal marijuana is really about people wanting to get stoned," said Lee, author of Smoke Signals, a book published last month about the medical and social history of marijuana. "Why do they want it when it doesn't even get them high?"
Note: For an educational, 45-minute documentary on this topic titled "What if Cannabis Cured Cancer?," click here. For an informative 15-minute documentary on the health benefits of juicing raw cannabis, click here. For deeply inspiring reports from reliable sources, click here.
Global Social Benefit Incubator still strong
2012-09-07, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2012-09-18 08:53:18
Shivani Siroya was one of 19 entrepreneurs at this year's Global Social Benefit Incubator who have been undergoing a critical evaluation from this group, whose members also include venture capitalists and experts in social enterprise. Beyond building successful enterprises, the incubator wants ones that alleviate social needs. "People are not going to give money to you indefinitely, even if you're doing some good in the world. So we have to help these entrepreneurs develop sound business models that will flourish and last," said Eric Carlson, director of the incubator and dean's executive professor in the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University. This year's gathering brought together more than 150 mentors, who will continue to work with these enterprises into the fall. One is Jeff Miller, former director of Santa Clara's Center for Science, Technology and Society. He's been an adviser since the program's inception and sees one common thread in many of the young people. "They have such huge, wonderful, passionate visions of how to change the world in energy, water, education and more. But they lack focus. So we encourage them to look at an area that they can focus on and make an impact. This can be a particular demographic or region, which makes for a more concentrated effort." Impact investing, an emerging field for social effect as well as monetary return, has been gaining prominence. But Miller and Carlson are cautious, noting that the area needs to mature and develop an infrastructure. Yet it's quickly become a topic of discussion at the incubator.
Note: For information on microlending, one of the highest impact forms of investing for eliminating poverty in our world while still gaining interest on investment, click here.
Ernestine Shepherd: The 75-year-old bodybuilding grandma
2012-06-10, BBC News
Posted: 2012-09-18 08:51:25
The world's oldest female bodybuilder wakes up every day at 02:30 to fit in a 10 mile (16km) run before hitting the gym. But 75-year-old Ernestine Shepherd insists that "age is nothing but a number". "Miss Ernie", as she is known in the world of competitive bodybuilding, began training at the tender age of 71. She says her true calling in life, however, is helping others to follow a more healthy lifestyle. The BBC caught up with her at an exercise class at her church in the US city of Baltimore, Maryland, to find out why she started bodybuilding.
Note: Click on the link above to watch an amazing three-minute video with this inspiring grandmother.
The 13-year-old who has the world planting trees
2011-04-29, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2012-09-18 08:50:04
At the age of nine, Felix Finkbeiner hatched a plan to plant a million trees in his native Germany. Now he's a global eco-superhero. Felix, from the unremarkable town of Pöcking, near Munich, is an environmental superstar at the helm of a global network of child activists whose aim is to mitigate climate change by reforesting the planet. His organisation, Plant for the Planet, recently achieved its target of planting one million trees in Germany; now, Felix is spreading his message around the world. Plant for the Planet is up and running in 131 countries, and the British chapter was established last month, with the aim of planting a million trees here over the next few years. Individuals or planting groups can either 'pledge’ to plant a certain number of trees or make a cash donation – €1 buys one tree. The results are logged on the Plant for the Planet website. Plant for the Planet started as a school project four years ago. 'I was supposed to give a presentation on a Monday,’ Felix says, 'so over the weekend I Googled stuff on climate change and came across Wangari Maathai’s campaign.’ Maathai, the daughter of Kenyan farmworkers..., began her own tree-planting campaign, the Green Belt Movement, in 1977 as a method of tackling soil erosion and encouraging local communities, particularly women, to stand up for themselves, not only environmentally but also politically. In 2004, 45 million trees later, she won the Nobel Peace Prize. 'She achieved so much with so little,’ Felix says. 'So I had the idea that we children could also do something.’
Note: For inspiring reports from major media sources, click here.
Ask the Experts: What Is a Near-Death Experience?
2011-08-03, ABC News Nightline
Posted: 2012-09-11 10:38:09
What does a NDE look and feel like? There are thousands upon thousands of descriptions, all of which show striking similarities between different people's experiences -- the white light, a tunnel, a life review and sense of peace -- so there does seem to exist a unifying thread throughout. Caroline Myss, a best-selling author and a speaker on spirituality and health, focuses on the first explanation. "A near-death experience is a phenomenon in which a person's physical body ceases to have any signs of life, and the soul detaches from the body and begins what could be called the journey into the afterlife. ... A long tunnel of light begins to appear. ... What's so phenomenal is that the descriptions [people] give, no matter what culture, no matter what background, match the ancient descriptions ... from various cultures. So if these experiences were in fact made up or hallucinatory, somebody did a very good job of getting that information out to multiple cultures at the same time." Dr. Jeffrey Long runs the Near Death Experience Research Foundation. He defines the physical conditions of someone having a NDE as "unconscious ... or actually clinically dead, with absent heartbeat and no spontaneous respiration. ... And yet when they shouldn't have any conscious remembering at this time, they do. ... While no two NDEs are the same, if you study large numbers of NDEs you see that very consistent pattern of elements."
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on NDE's, click here.
Ari Hallmark’s Story: To Heaven After the Storm
2012-05-07, WHNT-TV (Huntsville, Alabama CBS affiliate)
Posted: 2012-09-04 08:51:52
Ari Hallmark could be one of the most remarkable 7-year-olds you will ever meet. Somewhere between gymnastics and finishing up the first grade, she’s managed to become an author. What adds to Ari’s remarkable story is the subject of her book, titled To Heaven, After the Storm. On April 27th of last year, Ari, along with her mom and dad, Shane and Jennifer Hallmark, her grandparents, Phillip and Ann Hallmark and her two cousins, Jayden and Julie, sought shelter in a bathroom to ride out an EF-4 tornado that came through the Ruth community of Marshall County.
Her book talks about it all. Only she and her cousin Julie survived. However, Ari says for a while, she joined her family members in Heaven. She describes in vivid detail seeing her father Shane, who had been bald all of her life, with hair. She writes that, “my daddy did not have his glasses.” She says an angel came to her and told her it was time to go back. She says she then remembers waking up in a field near the house. The proceeds from Ari’s book will help a ministry for other children dealing with death. Her therapist suggested the idea. “She’s was like, ‘Hey, let’s make a book. And do it to help other kids’,” Ari says.
Note: For more on the beautiful story of how this seven-year old girl foresaw her family's death in a tornado and went through an inspiring near-death experience, click here. For many other most inspiring stories of near-death experiences, click here.
Jessica Cox pilots her own course
2012-08-23, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2012-09-04 08:48:47
She can put on contact lenses, drive a car and sign her name - all with her feet - but Jessica Cox's biggest accomplishment may be up in the air. The 29-year-old Arizona native and Tucson resident was born without arms as a result of a rare birth defect, yet she got her pilot's license in 2008 and made the 2011 Guinness World Records for being the world's first licensed armless pilot. "It was tough being different growing up. For me it was a challenge to go to public school and always be stared at," Cox said. "I had a choice to embrace that part of my life or avoid it." So she chose to not hide behind long-sleeve sweaters and instead took up surfing, scuba diving and tae kwon do (she is a black belt), and conquered her biggest fear - flying. Like other tasks, she pilots with her feet. Cox is the subject of a documentary being filmed about her life and accomplishments, titled "Rightfooted." A trailer for the film can be seen at rightfooted.com/movie. In the trailer, Cox is seen as a girl with prosthetic arms as she explains that she was called "hook" and "robot girl" growing up. She is later seen wearing her favorite flying shirt, which reads, "Look Ma, no hands!" "I remember that as a child I always wanted to fly like Superwoman over my playground because I was so angry about how limited I was," she says during the trailer. "With the documentary, I will be able to reach millions of people to say it's OK to be different," Cox said in an interview.
Note: For deeply inspiring reports from major media sources, click here.