Man Buys $6 Million Super Bowl Ad To Pay Back the Heroes Who Saved His Dog

By | everyday heroes, Food for thought, heartwarming, news, stories, uplifting news

Anyone who has lost a pet knows how hard it can be, so it’s easy to understand why when David MacNeil’s 7-year-old golden retriever, Scout, was given a month to live, he refused to accept it.

Scout collapsed suddenly in the summer of 2019. MacNeil rushed his beloved dog to the vet, where a tumor was found growing on Scout’s heart. After diagnosing Scout with an aggressive form of cancer, a veterinarian told MacNeil his dog had just one month to live, according to NBC Madison, Wisconsin affiliate WMTV.

There he was in this little room, standing in the corner… and he’s wagging his tail at me. I’m like, ‘I’m not putting that dog down. There’s just absolutely no way.

David MacNeil to WMTV

He refused to give up on his dog

Local vets told MacNeil there was no hope for Scout, but MacNeil refused to accept that fate for his furry friend.

Seeking help elsewhere, MacNeil took Scout, who is also his company WeatherTech’s unofficial mascot, to the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine.

The vets there agreed that the dog had just a 1% chance of survival, but were determined to treat Scout anyway. They administered aggressive chemotherapy and radiation.

Throughout it all, vets say that Scout maintained his sweet, calm temperament, making them even more determined to restore Scout’s quality of life.

After just a month of treatment, they discovered that Scout’s tumor has shrunk by 78%– and today, it’s been nearly eradicated!

He found a way to give back

MacNeil was so grateful to the vets who saved his best friend that he decided to take out a $6 million ad during the Super Bowl to promote the resources that kept Scout alive. The 30-second spot, called “Lucky Dog,” opens with Scout running on the beach and tells the story of his survival.

The ad then advises people on how to donate to the veterinary school’s research program, helping the vets keep even more pets alive.

The research could save humans too

The dean of the school told WMTV that the ad will help all veterinary medicine and also cancer research that can also benefit humans.

“This is an amazing opportunity not only for the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the School of Veterinary Medicine, but for veterinary medicine worldwide,” said university dean Mark Markel.

He explained that the donations can also benefit cancer research that will benefit humans.

Research into animal cancers can teach doctors about human cancers too. “So much of what’s known globally today about how best to diagnose and treat devastating diseases such as cancer originated in veterinary medicine.”

For his part, MacNeil is so grateful to have Scout safe and sound that he wants to help others in turn:

“I hope it has a positive impact on cancer for animals and people, all over the world.”

Scout and MacNeil’s story reminds us that when we refuse to give up on hope and follow up through to the end, the results can help not just our nearest and dearest, but have a ripple affect throughout the world as well.

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What Is Your Partner’s Love Language? And What to Buy Them For Valentine’s Day

By | Food for thought, goalcast originals, heartwarming, how-to guide, stories

It’s the time of year where all of us are focusing on finding the right gift for someone special, as Valentine’s Day approaches. Naturally, we want the gift to be special but how can we avoid falling into the trap of cliches and uninspired presents.

A special gift usually indicates to the receiver that some thought has been put into it, that there is a connection between the two. It tells the person how well you know them, and in doing so, also defines your relationship.

But how can we make a gift even more special and truly understand the needs and wants of our partner?

What are the 5 Love Languages?

It all comes down to knowing your partner’s love language. There are 5 lof them–Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Physical Touch, Acts of Service, and Gifts– and they each serve as a blueprint for emotional intimacy between you and your partner. 

“Knowing which “language” you speak, which actions you interpret as love, is essential to navigating and maintaining security in your relationship,” said Caitlin Killoren, a relationship coach at Relish.

First put forward by author Gary Chapman in his 1992 book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, the five love languages was developed from his years as a marriage counsellor. Chapman kept recognizing a recurring pattern between spouses:

“One spouse would say something like, ‘I feel like he doesn’t love me. The other would protest, ‘I don’t know what else to do! I’m doing everything I should be doing.’”

When he asked the couples what each spouse could do to improve the relationship, Chapman determined that the answers fell into five different categories, now known as the love languages.

The five love languages are highly useful to know in order to optimize a connection and love between partners. “When you know someone’s love language, and are able to speak that language, they feel cared for and appreciated,” said Jess McCann, author of “Cursed? Why you still don’t have the relationship you want and the 5 Cures that can change your love life?.

Consequently, you can also end up “spinning your wheels” trying to let someone know how you feel through a way that doesn’t resonate with them. Furthermore, knowing how someone feels loved is the key to good gift-giving!

If you know your partner is especially happy when spending quality time with you, then spending large amounts money on a gift won’t be as meaningful as aN afternoon at the beach or a picnic in the park would.

Jess McCann

Many of us have one dominant and recognizable love language. Most people fall under the “Words of Affirmation” category.However, we can also have secondary languages as well. It is possible to learn your love language by taking the various quizzes on The Five Love Languages website.

1. Acts of Service

Acts of Service

Individuals who fall under this category better respond to acts of service from their partner. Therefore, figuring out their needs and what they need help in is the best way to go. On the other hand, as Oprah Magazine outlines, “ambivalence or a lack of support are more damaging than anything else.”

What would be helpful to your partner? Do they need their car cleaned? Do they need a night off from cooking? What area of their life is the most chaotic and busy? You can usually find a good gift assisting in that place.

“On Valentine’s Day, wake up early. Make coffee and bring it to your partner in bed. Fold a load of laundry. Pick up the living room. Scramble some eggs, make them a smoothie. Save your money on the expensive reservations – all your partner wants is for you to demonstrate to them how much they mean to you,” said Killoren.

2. Words of Affirmation

While everyone enjoys a good word, some of us need more affirmation than others. Partners who respond to words of affirmation would appreciate being told, more or less explicitly, that they are valued or appreciated. People who favor words of affirmation will be particularly affected by insults.

How often do you tell your husband you love and appreciate him? When was the last time you told your wife you liked her outfit or that she looked nice?

For those who need words of affirmation, their absence can lead to feelings of resentment. While you may be thinking or feeling good thoughts about your spouse, try verbalizing them and see the power of your words.

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, licensed clinical professional counselor

Write your partner a love letter in lieu of a gift on Valentine’s Day, or make sure to attach one with your gift.

“Leave it somewhere they’ll find: their coat pocket or the driver’s seat of their car,” said Killoren. “Tell them what you remember about the beginning of your relationship, about how much you both have grown since you’ve been a couple. Tell them how much you love them and what you admire about them.”

The more detailed, the better. While a more substantial gift can definitely please your partner, having an expression of your love and appreciation attached to it would definitely render it truly special.

3. Physical Touch

Physical touch

Most relationships involve physical touch, whether platonic or not. Of course, a spouse who favors and needs physical touch, is going to want as much intimacy as possible.

Helping to fulfill his/her need for physical touch can also include non-sexual touches which may ease the pressure off you if you are not as sexual of a person.

Rabbi Slatkin

The most romantic thing you could give your partner on Valentine’s Day would be a morning cuddle, first thing when you wake up. Alternatively, a massage will be well received for those who respond to physical touch.

You can convey your affection through your fingertips, and nothing else, no matter how expensive or thoughtful, will matter to your partner.

4. Gifts

While the “Acts of Service” category is all about anticipating your partner’s needs, this one is more about appreciating them through giving them gifts. These are not something that they need, but more of a special thought on your part.

Additionally, while most people understand gifts as physical items, they don’t necessarily have to be. Indeed, they can be “tangible and intangible items that make you feel appreciated or noticed,” such as “your partner’s concert.”

Gifts don’t have to cost a lot of money, unless you want them too of course. Get your partner’s car washed, pick up their favorite pastries, buy them tickets to see their favorite band.

“They’ll appreciate because they feel loved when they receive gifts, but also because research suggests we prefer gifts that are unexpected,” said Killoren.

5. Quality Time

Quality time can include glamping.

People who favor quality time would prefer “engaging in an activity together, particularly one you both enjoy, like a walk after dinner” or something else that would involve time spent together.  

A good gift for someone with this love language…tickets to an event! Perhaps a concert, or show where you spend time together but are also enjoying something extra special.

Glamping is another great gift for someone whose love language is quality time. There is nothing more meaningful and romantic than whisking your partner away on a getaway in nature to spend incredible quality time together. From enjoying excursions to spa services, there is a glamping site perfect for every couple who just wants to spend uninterrupted time together.

You can do anything you want on Valentine’s Day – all that matters to your partner is that you do it together. “

“If you go out to dinner, linger after your decaf coffees and just talk until the waiter asks you to leave. Go see a classic movie and discuss it afterwards. Visit an art gallery, or stay in,” said Killoren.

As long as you’re together, they’re happy.

Beyond Valentine’s Day

Figuring out our own love language should be a priority for us all. After all, once we understand what we desire and respond to, it enables us to set the standards of our relationships with others. It can also help us in making them understand how to navigate a relationship with us. Therefore, this could prevent conflicts from arising.

While it may take some introspection and some time to figure out, it will eventually be beneficial to your current and future relationships with romantic partners but also with friends and family members.

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How Kobe Bryant Learned From His Daughter Gianna Bryant and Changed His Legacy Forever

By | Food for thought, heartwarming, Inspiring Celebrities, news, stories

Kobe Bryant died a sudden and shocking death this weekend this weekend, which shook the whole world. Nicknamed “Black Mamba,” the legendary basketball player was loved by many and was a source of inspiration to fans of the sport and others alike.

The helicopter that crashed was unfortunately also carrying his daughter, Gianna Bryant, whose life was also lost in the tragic accident. The crash also took the lives of seven other passengers, including the pilot. Among those, was baseball coach, John Altobelli with his wife and daughter Alyssa.

Gianna and Alyssa were good friends and played basketball together. They were all on their way to the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, Calif, where Bryant coached basketball to kids.

Kobe’s relationship with Gianna renders their tragic and untimely death especially poignant. We were all aware of how much he loved her and how they bonded over basketball.

How Gianna Bryant was going to be Kobe’s legacy

Basketball was a passion and a talent Kobe Bryant had passed on to Gianna though Bryant retired from the NBA in 2016. After a legendary career that spanned two decades, he stayed on the court, now coaching his daughters.

Gianna was the second oldest of Kobe’s children and like her father, she shared a the same passion for the sport. On social media, the basketball legend shared many moments of his daughter’s basketball journey, always with pride.

Additionally, Bryant had brought her to basketball games, as the internet famous video below shows, and used them as learning moments.

But for Kobe, his daughter’s passion for basketball was even more symbolic. He and his wife Vanessa Bryant, had 4 daughters before Gianna’s death and no son but that did not stop him from seeing the latter as his basketball heiress.

The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans would come up to me and she’ll be standing next to me, and they’ll be like, ‘You’ve gotta have a boy, you and V gotta have a boy. You gotta have somebody to carry on your tradition, the legacy.

Kobe Bryant on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

Rather than accepting the circumstances, or wishing he had had a boy instead, Kobe proudly embraced Gianna as the leader of his legacy. In doing so, he also learned to see basketball differently and work towards a more inclusive culture.

He went from player to spectator…

Kobe retired in 2016, which afforded him a lot of time to focus on his family and other post-retirement projects. Being able to be present for his daughters’ and to coach them also changed his perception on basketball.

“You know what’s funny,” Bryant said on the “All the Smoke” podcast to Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on Jan. 9. “Before Gigi got into basketball I hardly watched it, but now that’s she’s into basketball, we watch every night.”

Gianna’s love for the sport enabled her father to see it from another perspective, to be able to enjoy it outside the context that he had been used to during the length of his career.

We just had so much fun because it was the first time I was seeing the game through her eyes.

“It wasn’t me sitting there as an athlete or a player or something like that, and it’s about me, and I don’t like that,” he finished. “It was her, she was having such a good time.”

But Bryant was being more than a devoted dad in those moments. Seeing his daughter as his legacy, the future of a family basketball dynasty, he wanted to nurture that talent so she could carry on what he started.

…and then, went from spectator to coach

As part of his projects, he decided to take the time to coach his daughter’s basketball team. The experience was more than an opportunity to bond with his daughter.

We’ve been working together for a year and a half and they’ve improved tremendously in that time. I’ve got a group of great parents, a group of really, really intelligent, hardworking girls, and — they’re all seventh graders, they’re all 12 years old — but they’ve been playing so well.

Kobe Bryant to Entertainment Tonight

He continued, highlighting what it was like to coach not only the middle school team but his daughter as well. “Gianna’s pretty easy to coach. We haven’t had any issues of dad-daughter sort of thing,” he said. Much like her father, she was “very competitive” and “a hard worker.”

It is no wonder that Gianna had inherited her father’s talent, which made it easier for him to coach her. However, his daughter’s love for the sport was also eye-opening and made him realize the importance of being inclusive when it comes to women in the world of basketball.

It was not specifically his daughter he saw as the future of basketball, but women in general. Kobe’s legacy is vast but part of it is rooted in his advocacy for the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).

What Kobe meant for women in basketball

In an interview with CNN, Kobe expressed his opinions on the division between men and women in the world of the NBA.

I think there are a couple of players who could play in the NBA right now honestly. There’s a lot of players with a lot of skill that could do it.

Bryant went on to name three WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association) stars who he believes could make the jump into the men’s league. “Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore, Elena Della Donne. There’s a lot of great players out there so they could certainly keep up with them,” he said.

While there are still a lot of steps before this could even become a possibility, the voice and endorsement of a legend like Kobe has been invaluable to female basketball players. There is a general tendency to disregard or undermine female athletes, and always compare them to the more mainstream, male counterparts of their sports.

By breaching that space between the two leagues, Kobe made sure that female basketball players were heard and given their due recognition.

It is no wonder that female basketball players were particularly shocked by the recent events. Female basketball coach of the Oregon Ducks, Sabrina Ionescu “was particularly struck by the news.” As reported by The Oregonian, “Bryant had become a mentor to her and she became especially close to the family.” Kobe’s daughter Gianna dreamt of playing for her team one day.

While nothing can ever bring back the lives that were lost in the accident, it is possible for us to not forget the legacy that Kobe and Gianna had been working on for female athletes, but also for women in general. They will always be remembered for their close relationship, but also their efforts to promote equality in sports.

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Why Will Smith’s Friendship With Martin Lawrence Changed His Life

By | Food for thought, heartwarming, Inspiring Celebrities, stories

Sometimes, we watch a movie where the two costars have so much chemistry that we think “Oh they act well together on set.” Such is the case of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, who made their debut as a duo in the 1995 movie Bad Boys.

Yet, these two have a different sort of bond that goes beyond onscreen chemistry. Their friendship is the “real deal” but it all started with Bad Boys. Now, 25 years later, they reunite onscreen one last time in Bad Boys for Life, honoring the place where it all started for these two comedians.

However, Will and Martin were not brought together by a simple gesture of Hollywoodian fate. Rather, their bond was precipitated by no other than Martin himself, who helped propel Will Smith into the superstar that he is today. Without him, Will may not have reached the rest of the world…

Before they even knew each other…

At the time, both Will and Martin were successful in their own television series–Will with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and the latter with Martin. They were both already familiar figures to the public.

When the original Bad Boys was in production, Martin was cast before Will. They were looking for the right costar, as much of the success of the story depended on the two leads. But what brought the two costars together?

As Martin told Ellen Degeneres in December 2019, his sister suggested Will Smith to him.

My sister… she brought Will to my attention. So, I called Will, and we set up a dinner and Will came to my house. Five minutes after talking to Will, he got the job.

Martin Lawrence

They instantly connected and it was not for nothing. Director Michael Bay even allowed Will and Martin to improvise certain scenes together, which have led to some of the memorable, iconic moments in the movie.

Bad Boys went on to be a hugely successful film, garnering immense commercial success. Their onscreen chemistry left a lasting impression on so many, which is no surprise that two other sequels were made. Will himself admits that to this day, this is the one movie that still has his fans talking.

Of all the movies that I have done, Bad Boys is the one that people walk up to me on the street and say, ‘when are you going to do another one?’ They don’t say that about I am Legend or Men in Black – it’s like Bad Boys is the one that people feel there is meat on the bone.

Will Smith to Heavy.

However, at the time, Hollywood was no necessarily open to the idea of two black men leading a blockbuster film. The untold story behind

Martin helped Will against all odds

Bad Boys was originally written with two white leads in mind, actors Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz, with the original title being Bulletproof Hearts. Of course, 1995 was a different time in Hollywood, and it was more difficult for black actors to forge their careers.

Will acknowledges that Martin’s interference was a pivotal moment for his career, but also for the world of cinema.

At the time, two black leads it like ‘ehh’ … Martin [Lawrence] fought to have me in Bad Boys, and the big part of the original success was because, after that, [producer] Don [Simpson] and [producer] Jerry [Bruckheimer] refused to let it be a black movie. They fought the studio and said it’s not a black movie.

Will Smith to Heavy.

By marketing it as a movie for everyone to see, the producers also managed to break the stigma around black leads in cinema. “It’s a movie that the world needed to see,” Will added. “That everybody would love because of the actors in the movie not because the actors in the movie are black.”

Martin fought to have Will Smith on board. In doing so, he helped destroy barriers in Hollywood and prove wrong the “perception essentially that black people can’t sell movies globally” or that “black films don’t travel.”

What has Martin been up to?

Martin’s level of success was not on Will Smith’s and his life took a slightly different turn in the years following the release of the first Bad Boys movie. In 1996, he was arrested for “hurling obscenities at cars” while carrying a gun and in 1999, he suffered from heat exhaustion, which put him in a coma for 3 days.

The 90s and early 2000s were not a good time for the actor but he definitely grew from that period.

I was young and I made, uh, some irresponsible choices and, you know, carrying a gun when I shouldn’t have been carrying a gun. And just getting into things that I shouldn’t have gotten in.

Martin Lawrence to GQ

His journey was one of change and growth but it happened mostly behind the scenes. “Wait a minute. I don’t want to be a failure,”he told GQ. “I don’t want to blow this.” I’m a kid from the hood and I’ve made it all the way to Hollywood, and I’ve got my hands and feet imprinted in Hollywood and don’t want to go down negatively. I want to be held up positively.”

From this realization, Martin managed to get to a better place. He returns to audiences with Bad Boys For Life, with his long time friend, Will Smith. He even has a stand-up comedy tour starting on January 31st 2020.

A lasting friendship

It is hard to image the cinematic world without Will Smith. Yet, while Will was huge on television in the 90s, thanks to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, he was not yet familiar to film audiences. When Martin brought him on Bad Boys, he jumpstarted what would become an immensely successful career in Hollywood.

However, their friendship lasted all this time and was not solely fabricated for the screen. “Will is one of my good friends,” Martin confided to New York Times. “I could call Will about anything, and he could call me about anything.”

Their return onscreen for Bad Boys For Life, 25 years after the original film, was not without a fair share of concern. Yes, they have remained friends offscreen but that didn’t mean that their onscreen chemistry would be the same.

However, that seemed to be no issue.

We hadn’t really done anything for 25 years so there was a little concern [over] the chemistry. But literally the first moment on stage it was right back.

Will Smith to Ellen

How helping each other makes a difference

Will and Martin have charmed millions around the world as Mike Lowrie and Marcus Burnett. Behind the scenes, their bond has been just as genuine. They share an unbreakable bond. It is friendships like these that instill hope into the hearts of all people, old and young. 

Their instant connection helped them overcome the limitations of a discriminatory film world and we are thankful for it. Otherwise, we may not have the Will Smith that we know today.

Martin took a chance on Will, but it paid off both in their careers and their personal life. It is important not to ignore genuine connections when they happen on our path. Listening to our instincts and what feels right always leads to fruitful and long lasting relationships.

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Why Whitney Houston’s Secret Bond With Robyn Crawford Was More Powerful Than Fame

By | Food for thought, heartwarming, love stories, stories

Over 7 years have passed since Whitney Houston’s tragic death. What has since been said about the once unstoppable star has mostly focused on her drug use, her abusive marriage to Bobby Brown, and perhaps most tragically, her 22-year-old daughter’s remarkably similar drug-induced death only three years following hers.

To Whitney’s longtime friend and personal assistant Robyn Crawford, it became increasingly important to paint a fuller, truer picture of the late pop diva. In November 2019, she finally broke her decades-long silence with the publication of her memoir, A Song For You: My Life with Whitney Houston.

“I’d come to the point where I felt the need to stand up for our friendship. And I felt an urgency to stand up and share the woman behind the incredible talent,” she told People. In her introduction to the memoir, Crawford further explains the motivations behind her decision to write their story.

In the nineteen years since I left Whitney’s company I have been pursued relentlessly to share my story. And since her death and that of her daughter, I have been saddened and frustrated by the way she and her legacy have been misrepresented.

The book has received a lot of attention for its many revelations, especially its disclosing of the romantic relationship between the two women, who met all the way back in 1980, when Houston was barely 17 years old and Crawford 19.

Robyn and Whitney refused to label their relationship

While many have gasped at the reveal of this romantic/sexual relationship between Crawford and Houston, it is but one element in a far more complex story. Robyn’s account is the story of two women who hid the original nature of their relationship for Houston’s entire life, often despite intense speculation.

Robyn details how she was harassed and even threatened with violence by Whitney’s family. Whitney went along with it, while in private, she would tell her, “Robyn, you know I love you immensely.”

Before you start resenting Whitney, it is important to understand that both women were raised in ‘God-fearing’ households, back when, as Robyn puts it, “you were either this, or you were that.”

Even in private, they resisted acknowledging what was really going on:

We never talked labels, like lesbian and gay. We just lived our lives, and I hoped it could go on that way for ever.

Robyn Crawford to People

Ultimately, their sexual relationship was short-lived, when, at the age of 19, Houston signed her first contract with Arista Records. In her book, Robyn describes how her friend handed her a Bible and told her they had to quit having sex, because “if they found out – because her career was taking off – they’d use it against us.”

Robyn went along with this, and the women’s friendship went on to span another two decades, largely because Whitney hired her as her assistant as soon as she could and the two moved in together. 

A story of romantic survival

Robyn admits it was incredibly challenging when Whitney started dating Jermaine Jackson in the mid-80s, then Eddie Murphy, and later Bobby Brown, whom she married.

According to Robyn, Brown would sometimes yell at her, and Whitney would take his side. “A lot of the physical stuff that Bobby did [to Whitney] was when I wasn’t there,” she reveals. She finally realized her friend’s public support of Brown was a survival mechanism.

Behind closed doors, she knew how he could behave. So if he’s out in the open creating a scene, you want to defuse it. And she didn’t like to embarrass people.

Robyn Crawford

Surprisingly, in 2016, Brown himself confirmed Whitney’s relationship with Robyn, alleging his former wife’s bisexuality in his own memoir, a label Houston denied throughout her lifetime.

He went on to say that her death could have been avoided with Robyn’s help: “I really feel that if Robyn was accepted into Whitney’s life, Whitney would still be alive today … She didn’t have close friends with her anymore.”

A terrible chapter in their life

Robyn Crawford’s memoir is an account of the larger than life story of an extraordinarily talented artist who found herself in the middle of an increasingly negative whirlwind of personalities and interests as she grew more successful. 

According to Crawford, when they met as teenagers, Houston had already used drugs and confided in her new friend about trying cocaine at 14-years-old. The two actually often did drugs together, but Robyn eventually tried to talk her into quitting.

In 1988, Robyn told Whitney’s mother, Cissy, that her daughter needed help for her drug addiction. She was ignored, probably due to the family’s hostility regarding her closeness with Houston.

“Whitney knew she needed to help herself and wanted to do that,” Crawford told BBC.

In 2001 she called a doctor to discuss rehab … And she said she was not someone who wanted to die. She was someone who wanted to live. She meant that.

Robyn Crawford to BBC

Unwavering friendship or one-sided love?

Despite Robyn’s overarching account of her and Whitney’s reciprocated and unshakeable bond—one in which they looked out for one another—the Houston family’s hostility towards her eventually saw her barred from business meetings.

In 1997, after years of touring with Whitney, she was shut out of a 10-date tour. Eventually, 20 years after the women’s first meeting, Robyn finally quit. When Whitney Houston passed away in 2012, Crawford was living in rural New Jersey with her wife, Lisa Hintlemann, and their two adopted children. She had not spoken to Houston in years. Her wife had encouraged her to seek therapy, which she did.

However, long after she got married and had children, Crawford still felt at times that she could get sucked back in. Part of her stated purpose in writing her memoir was to celebrate the original energy between her and her closest friend.

We were young, and fearless, and free. … I wanted to lift her legacy, give her respect and share the story of who she was before the fame, and in that, to embrace our friendship.

Robyn Crawford to People

Her book also includes little anecdotes that provide true Whitney-lovers with a rare glimpse of the way the star used to navigate the world. For instance, the superstar was a homebody, liked to sleep late, loved cereal, and was a sucker for swimming at the beach.

An authentic connection never really dies

While Robyn Crawford’s memoir is a step towards healing from the loss of her late friend and lover, it is also a celebration of their authentic connection that was unfortunately not allowed to flourish. Circumstances and individuals prevented the two women from living their truth and helping each other on their path.

This is why it is important to cherish the authentic relationships we have in our lives, the ones that are not based on superficial things like money or benefits. When we make space for people who genuinely want the best for us, we can only protect ourselves from the type of people who can be detrimental to our wellbeing.

More inspiring friendships:

World’s Oldest Couple Reveals the Secrets to Their 80-Year Marriage

By | Food for thought, heartwarming, love stories, marriage, stories

Like many couples, John and Charlotte met through circumstances. They just ended up sitting behind each other in class.

It was in 1934, during zoology class. At the time, John was 21 and Charlotte was 20.

I thought he was just a fine fella, and I didn’t mind his looking over my shoulder

Charlotte Henderson to the Washington Post

It was only a chance meeting at a lecture hall in college, but it had a long-lasting impact. Now at the ages of 105 and 106 years old, they are about to celebrate their 80th wedding anniversary on the December 22 of this year.

Their relationship is a world record

That’s a major testament to their love but it is also a world record. Guinness World Records have recognized John and Charlotte Henderson as the oldest living married couple!

So, what’s their secret?

Well, according to them, it’s waiting until you are sure of your choice, and then sticking to it!

John mentions that it “took [Charlotte] five years to make up her mind” about marriage, even though it was more customary to have shorter engagements at the time.

But this was during the Great Depression, and they took the time to earn some money before they started a home. Charlotte took a teaching job in the Houston area, and John coached football and basketball in Port Arthur, Texas.

A humble ceremony for a long marriage

When they finally got married, the ceremony was tiny. Only two guests were present on Dec. 22, 1939. They spent their honeymoon in San Antonio, and stayed at a hotel that cost $7 a night.

While they have been together for 85 years, they have been married for 80 of those years, which means that they do not hold the record for the longest marriage.

That title, according to Guinness World Records, belongs to Zelmyra and Herbert Fisher, who were tied the knot at the ages of 17 and 19, respectively, and were married for 86 years and 290 days before Herbert’s death in 2011.

The secret behind their longevity

In the time John and Charlotte have been married, they have traveled, and witnessed all sorts of historical and technological developments. But the secret to their longevity is a surprising one.

“It’s living in moderation,” they told The Washington Post. They eat well and don’t drink much. John still exercises at the community gym almost every day. Except for some hearing loss, both are in excellent health.

The Hendersons also never had children. “So, some people have said that’s really why we’ve lived so long!” John joked.

So, after 80 years, do they still argue, or have they figured it all out?

No, they don’t argue, John replied. If you’re looking forward to your relationship being more peaceful in your golden years, they have one more advice: they never argued that much in the first place and have always made a point to settle things before bedtime.

Their advice is timeless

The Hendersons have lived through many a decade, which only strengthens the validity of their advice. However, solving issues as they arise, instead of letting them fester, remains a timeless, tried-and-true approach.

By applying it to our own relationships, we can preserve them better and make for meaningful, long-lasting connections.

For more inspiring love stories:

This Little Boy’s Kindergarten Class Planned a Surprise For His Adoption Day

By | Food for thought, heartwarming, Motivation, news, stories, uplifting news

Michael Clark Jr. is a 5-year-old boy whose life has just completely changed. After years of loneliness, he now has tons of friends and a new family. To mark that very special event, his new adoptive parents and kindergarten decided to surprise him by having his classmates attend the official ceremony.

“He was really excited they were there,” David Eaton, Michael’s new father, told BuzzFeed News. “He views his classmates as his extended family so it was a highlight for him. He was definitely having fun there.”

From foster care to a new home

Michael is only five years old, but he’s led a rough life so far, having been in and out of the foster care system. It hasn’t stopped him from being friendly, loving sports and having tons of energy. When his new parents enrolled him at Wealthy Elementary School in East Grand Rapids, Eaton said “the school embraced him as one of their own.”

“It was pretty clear right off the bat that he was a really special kid.”

Once the family had decided to formally adopt Michael, his teacher had an idea: what if his whole class could get involved?

“We have a theme at our school, ‘Put a Little Love in Your Heart,’ you know that song by Annie Lennox?” said Michael’s teacher, Kerry McKee. “I always tell my students that you rise when you lift others, and that’s what we did with Michael.”

The courthouse was filled

“That’s when I came up with the idea that what if we, the whole class, went to the court with them,” the teacher said. “So I asked the principal and she said, ‘I can’t think of a reason why not.’”

And then the kids’ parents got involved too! “We couldn’t afford a bus so I emailed the parents asking if six or seven could take off work to drive the kids to the court house,” she said. “The next morning 14 out of 23 offered to skip work and come.”

The parents ended up chipping in to rent a bus, and along with the classmates, 14 adults, including teachers, secretaries, administrators, and parents, were dropped off right in front of the court house.

“We had them pick what color heart they wanted to bring and put them on rulers because, ‘love rules,’” she laughed. “I’m corny like that. But I am riding this love wave with such passion…”

They made history together

“It’s the first time in county history that a whole squad of kindergartners showed up to an adoption hearing”, Holly Hernandez, an adoption caseworker with the 17th circuit court, told BuzzFeed News.

It’s amazing how beautiful and supportive a community can be when they all join together! By regrouping to celebrate Michael’s special moment, the school and parents made sure that it will remain an unforgettable memory. His story is evidence that taking the time and making a conscious effort to honor the good in our lives, and the lives of others, can generate even more positivity.

More inspiring stories:

25 Mr. Rogers Quotes That Are Words of Wisdom for All Ages

By | Food for thought, heartwarming, mister rogers, Quotes, TV Shows

Mr. Rogers (in full Fred McFeely Rogers), was an American television host, producer, writer and minister, best known for his educational children’s show called Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Mister Rogers’ half-hour program was aimed initially at preschool ages 2 to 5, but after its debut, people of all ages would watch it since it brought so much joy to their homes.

Fred Rogers was just as nice, friendly and empathetic in real life, as he appears onscreen. He was an activist and an advocate for children from all backgrounds and during his show he managed to equip them with the tools they needed to navigate life’s most difficult moments.

The much-loved host understood that kids need to learn how to live in the real world, so he taught them everything he could about coping with emotions such as fear, anger and shame.

*If you’re curious to learn more about Mr. Rogers’ life, you should know that a beautifully written and wonderfully directed motion picture, starring Tom Hanks, was just released. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood has already conquered the hearts of many.

Here are 25 Mr. Rogers quotes that are words of wisdom for all ages:

One of the greatest gifts you can give anybody is the gift of your honest self. I also believe that kids can spot a phony a mile away.

I don’t think anyone can grow unless he’s loved exactly as he is now, appreciated for what he is rather than what he will be.

It’s really easy to fall into the trap of believing that what we do is more important than what we are. Of course, it’s the opposite that’s true: What we are ultimately determines what we do!

There is no normal life that is free of pain. It’s the very wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus for our growth.

All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we’re giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world.

Discovering the truth about ourselves is a lifetime’s work, but it’s worth the effort.

Love and success, always in that order. It’s that simple AND that difficult.

If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.

I hope you’re proud of yourself for the times you’ve said ‘yes,’ when all it meant was extra work for you and was seemingly helpful only to someone else.

Love is like infinity: You can’t have more or less infinity, and you can’t compare two things to see if they’re ‘equally infinite.’ Infinity just is, and that’s the way I think love is, too.

Real strength has to do with helping others.

There’s a world of difference between insisting on someone’s doing something and establishing an atmosphere in which that person can grow into wanting to do it.

We all have different gifts, so we all have different ways of saying to the world who we are.

You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are.

Even though no human being is perfect, we always have the chance to bring what’s unique about us to live in a redeeming way.

The media shows the tiniest percentage of what people do. There are millions and millions of people doing wonderful things all over the world, and they’re generally not the ones being touted in the news.

There are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.

Mr Rogers quotes 1

Forgiveness is a strange thing. It can sometimes be easier to forgive our enemies than our friends. It can be hardest of all to forgive people we love. Like all of life’s important coping skills, the ability to forgive and the capacity to let go of resentments most likely take root very early in our lives.

Peace means far more than the opposite of war.

The thing I remember best about successful people I’ve met all through the years is their obvious delight in what they’re doing and it seems to have very little to do with worldly success. They just love what they’re doing, and they love it in front of others.

Children’s play is not just kids’ stuff. Children’s play is rather the stuff of most future inventions.

There’s a part of all of us that longs to know that even what’s weakest about us is still redeemable and can ultimately count for something good.

One of the greatest dignities of humankind is that each successive generation is invested in the welfare of each new generation.

Mutual caring relationships require kindness and patience, tolerance, optimism, joy in the other’s achievements, confidence in oneself, and the ability to give without undue thought of gain.

Imagine what our real neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person.

Sia Takes off Her Disguise to Buy Groceries for Strangers

By | Food for thought, heartwarming, Inspiring Celebrities, Motivation, musicians, news, Sia, stories

Sia, best known for her hit songs “Chandelier” and “Cheap Thrills”, is somewhat infamous for hiding her face and identity by wearing over-the-top wigs and hats on stage and on the red carpet. But she took advantage of that reputation to give back in an unexpected and sincere way.

This past week, as shoppers were scrambling to buy last-minute Thanksgiving groceries, Sia went undercover at a Walmart in Palm Springs, California to pay for everyone’s orders!

How Sia’s giving back

In a report by local news station KESQ, it was revealed the singer did not tell anyone who she was, and in fact created a pseudonym of Cici and told bystanders she had just won the lottery.

The singer and songwriter lives with an incurable tissue disorder known as Ehlers–Danlos syndrome that causes her chronic pain. The famously private star stepped out of her comfort zone this year to open up about her condition and encourage others who are living with chronic pain.

I just wanted to say to those of you suffering from pain, whether physical or emotional, I love you, keep going. Life is… hard. Pain is demoralizing, and you’re not alone.

Sia, who sported a simple bun rather than her typical face-covering wig or hat, also stopped by a local TJ Maxx and did the same act of kindness there, simply walking from cashier to cashier and asking “who is next?”

What we can learn from Sia

While Sia had no intention of being recognized or getting attention for this amazing holiday good deed, of course social media took care of that for her and the news spread fast.

If you have the power to make someone’s day better, in a small or big way, why not do it? Sia did, and shows a wonderful side to the performer that is often only noticed for her singing and theatrical presence.

That is what the holidays are all about.

Why Eddie Murphy’s Movie is Dedicated to His Brother Charlie

By | charlie murphy, comedian, Eddie Murphy, family, Food for thought, heart-warming, heartwarming, Inspiring Celebrities, profile, relationships

We all know Eddie Murphy— when we see the name, many iconic characters spring to mind, along with hilarious one-liners and physical comedy. You may know him for stint on Saturday Night Live, his string of hit comedy films in the ’80s and ’90s, his Golden Globe-winning turn in Dreamgirls, or even his groundbreaking standup career.

But what about Charlie Murphy? 

Eddie Murphy’s older brother Charlie was a standup comedian, actor, and screenwriter in his own right, best known for his performances in Dave Chappelle’s iconic sketch TV series Chappelle’s Show

Experts within the comedy industry laud Charlie as one of the most under appreciated talents in the scene, with director Craig Brewer saying, “”He may not have been as famous as Eddie, but he was a really talented and funny cat.”

If you don’t know Charlie Murphy’s name, then you likely have no idea that he died in 2017 after a battle with leukaemia. Or that Eddie Murphy’s comeback film My Name is Dolemite is dedicated to his memory.

What else don’t you know about the Murphy brothers?

Their tragic childhood

The Murphy brothers’ childhood ended sooner than most, with their parents’ divorce when Eddie was just three years old, followed by his father’s murder five years later.

Neither Charlie nor Eddie had it easy growing up, but older brother Charlie stepped up to serve as his little brother’s protector whenever he could. Eddie was understandably traumatized by the loss of his father, but Charlie did his best to be Eddie’s rock.

When their mother became so ill that she had to be hospitalized for months, Charlie and Eddie were put into foster care. Thankfully, the brothers were not separated, but they spent a year in the system before being returned to their mother’s care. 

Despite their tough childhood, Eddie credits the hard times with developing his razor sharp wit and wicked sense of humor. While Eddie turned to the standup comedy scene to channel his pain, Charlie was drawn into gang violence. Eddie was without his brother for the first time when Charlie was sentenced to 10 months in prison. Charlie credits his mother with helping him clean up his act, as she encouraged him to join the military.

As Eddie’s star rose, Charlie was stuck in the shadows

As Eddie rose to the top of the comedy scene, Charlie reclaimed his role as his brother’s protector by serving as Eddie’s head of security.

While he loved being able to support his brother, Charlie’s own creativity was being stifled in the role. He recalled, “I was there for the person I loved and the people around him didn’t like it. Being there to support someone else is cool if you’re a troop but I’m a general. I like being out in front. I left shortly after that happened and wrote my first film script.”

Eddie was also moving away from standup and into the world of Hollywood, but Charlie found his place as a sketch performer with Dave Chappelle. He turned his role as an observer behind the scenes into the Chappelle’s Show‘s now iconic “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories” segment.

The stories he wrote and shared about Prince and Rick James are still referenced daily— often by people who have no idea who they originated from!

Charlie stepped into a spotlight of his own making

With the abrupt end of Chappelle’s Show, Charlie took advantage of the challenge of making ends meet– turning it into an opportunity to test himself on the biggest dream he’d always been afraid to chase: he set out to be a standup comedian.

Though Eddie hadn’t performed standup in two decades by that point, his shadow still loomed large over Charlie. “When I first started doing comedy, I was 42 years old and I was the brother of one of the most celebrated comics in history who made his name in the game 20 years earlier. So, that took a lot of bravery,” he said.

Once he set his mind to it, Charlie slowly but surely made his way up through the world of standup, earning the respect of iconic comedians such as Chris Rock and DL Hughley. Of course, his greatest admirer was his little brother.

“Eddie sometimes comes to my shows. He’s proud of me. He talks about doing stand-up himself again but he’s hesitant after all this time. He doesn’t want to be compared to me,” Charlie told Metro.

Charlie’s legacy for Eddie– and for us

In 2017, Eddie’s protector finally faced the one battle he couldn’t win: cancer. He left behind a long career of writing, standup, and acting, along with two daughters.

Eddie mourned his brother in private: “Charlie filled our family with love and laughter and there won’t be a day that goes by that his presence will not be missed.”

He also found a way to honor is brother creatively. He produced and starred in My Name is Dolemite– a movie about the comedian Charlie had introduced him to– and dedicated the movie to Charlie’s memory.

Even more significantly, Eddie resolved not just to return to live sketch comedy by guest hosting Saturday Night Live, but also decided to make a return to standup up, three decades after his last iconic run– and three years after Charlie’s death.

Both brothers stories are powerful lessons about tackling the dream you’re most afraid of pursuing, not to mention never letting egos get in the way of family or your passion.

Charlie protected his brother until he realized it was time to stop playing defense. Then he was able to live his dream.

I’ve never felt like I was living in anyone’s shadow. My life was what it was. I was always proud of my brother. He helped me tremendously, but we’re family so we were never in his shadow.

Charlie Murphy in Essence (2009)