Gay Son Comes Out To Close-Minded Dad, Gets Shocked For All The Right Reasons

By | Acceptance, family, Food for thought, inspiring, parents, stories, uplifting news

Out in the open

To many of Levi Miles’ friends at the University of Wisconsin, it was an open secret that he was gay. However, he never told the world.

In a piece he penned in the Huff Post, Miles says that the positive response following him officially coming out on Facebook was heartwarming.

However, visiting home, Miles was very concerned with his father’s reaction. While his mother had known Miles’ secret for two years, he wrote that “coming out to my father terrified me beyond all other things,” fearing that he’d disown him.

One day his father left the house, and Miles’s mother told him “Your father saw your Facebook status when I left my Facebook up. The cat’s out of the bag.”

When Miles asked her for his reaction, the response was heartbreaking.

“She said that he wasn’t too happy about it, mostly disappointed and kind of hurt, from what I gathered,” wrote Miles.

“He’d even had the gall to say that if I weren’t in theatrE, I wouldn’t have ended up gay, because it wouldn’t have seemed so normal.”

– Levi Miles

“My dad has never been open-minded on the topic of homosexuality, and I know that he was praying that I wouldn’t be gay.”

Things left unsaid

When his dad returned, neither brought up the topic.

Miles admitted that “I didn’t want to talk about my sexuality with my father any more than he wanted to talk about it with me, which was good.”

With the tense weekend over, Miles hugged his parents goodbye as he hopped on the train back to Milwaukee.

A few hours later, his mother texted him.

“Your dad has funny ways of showing he loves you. Look in your backpack.”

– Levi Mile’s mother

Inside, between two notebooks, was a picture of a young Miles and his father, smiling.

On the back was a note that wrote “I will always love you, no matter what.”

Love overcomes

As hurtful and ignorant his ‘disappointment’ was to Levi, credit to his father for reflecting and realizing that Levi is his son and ultimately deciding to love him for who he is. While he didn’t do it with some moving speech, he expressed it in his own way —just like his Levi expresses who he is.

Above all, hat’s off to young Levi for sharing this story, and reminding us all that even the seemingly coldest and closed hearts and minds can thaw with love.

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Runner Purposefully Sacrifices First-Place Win To Help Carry Rival To Finish Line

By | exercise, Food for thought, goalcast originals, inspiring, inspiring news, sportsmanship, stories, success, uplifting news

One runner shocked sports purists when he sacrificed sweet victory for sportsmanship, sending a powerful message about what matters most.

In it to win it

Seasoned marathoner Rob Lopez entered the famed 10-kilometer TD Bank Beach to Beacon race in Maine in peak form and with his eye on the prize.

However, from the starter’s gate, he knew that there was one person he’d have to beat: young up-and-comer Jesse Orach.

“Jesse had a very good spring track year at UMaine. He was the favorite, and I was maybe his best competition,”

-Jesse Orach

The stakes couldn’t have been higher: Whoever finished ahead of the other would win the prized men’s Maine-resident division of the race and a cool $1,000.

With a cushy lead and approaching the finish, it looked like Orach would cruise to victory. Lopez thought so too.

“The first mile, I stuck with him,” Gomez says. “Then he pulled away. As a runner, I’ve done enough of these to know that it wasn’t going to be my day.”

Until it was.

That’s because just strides from the finish line, disaster struck Orach.

“But I was so focused on getting to the finish line I stumbled forward for maybe another 10 feet and fell down again,” he recalled.

Then the unforgettable happened.

He sacrificed victory

“It kind of seemed like it was over for me,” said Orach, “Then, I felt someone pick me up.”

Incredibly, that someone was none other than Lopez.

Turning the final corner, he spotted a collapsed Orach, picked him up and propelled him across the finish line to first place. With that, he passed up both the win and the prize money.

A winner for the right reasons

Explaining to the Press Herald, Lopez said that in that moment, camaraderie overtook competition.

“It wasn’t a calculated decision,” he said. “It wasn’t because I’m some sort of hero or some sort of special person, because I’m not. As runners, we understand, we pick each other up and help each other.”

Orach, like everyone else, was awestruck.

“I’m speechless with what he did. Him and I were kind of vying for that number one Mainer spot, and for him to give that up for me is pretty remarkable.”

– Jesse Orach

Word of Lopez’s gesture blew up Facebook, with almost 600 shares and 6,000 likes/loves along with hundreds of gushing comments.

“Now, that is sportsmanship at its finest. Thank you kind sir for being so loving for your fellow runner,” wrote one.

Added another: “Ok I’m in tears. Thank you Robert for showing all of us what true athletes, humans are capable of!”

Elevating others is what it’s really about

It almost seemed like Lopez was reading the script to the wrong movie. Most would have thought that this film would end with Lopez victorious, celebrating slow motion with the glory and money.

Instead, Lopez did what real heroes do: Elevating others and sharing the spotlight. That’s a role we can all strive for.

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Heroic Man Jumps Onto Subway Tracks To Save Man In Wheelchair

By | danger, everyday heroes, Food for thought, inspiring, stories, uplifting news

When a man using a wheelchair fell on the subway tracks of Union Square Station in New York City, Good Samaritans sprung into action.

One man literally jumped.

Jumping to aid

A bystander-turned-hero immediately launched himself off of the platform and onto the tracks to help the fallen man. He first attempted to pick up the man right away, but then moved the wheelchair back onto the platform. Finally, he reached back for the man and lifted him by the torso as others on the platform pulled the hero to safety. Moments later, the train arrived.

The rescued man was taken to Bellevue Hospital for treatment for his injuries. They are not believed to be life threatening.

Witnessing the amazing

The video of the man being pulled to safety was recorded by CBS New York reporter Lauren Mennen. She witnessed the event at around 1:15 pm on August 4.

Mennen says, “One man jumped right into action. He didn’t think twice whether he was going to go on those tracks.”

“I was like, people need this. There’s heroes in action and I was like I’m going to wave my hand at the train and it will all be good. I hope people just take positivity away from all this.”

– Lauren Mennen

People acted together to save another human life. The concept of “we are stronger together” is one that the world definitely needs right now. In a time where isolation has become a consistency, we can often feel further and further away from others. This act of heroism reminds us of the humanity that does in fact exist, and that we are in fact not alone.

Call to action

When you receive a call to action, answer! Spring into action when you are in a position to help someone in need. While crisis situations will often be guided by instinct, sometimes you need a little self-encouragement to get involved in the affairs of others. When someone so clearly is in a position where they need assistance, be that help if you have the capability.

Life will surprise you, often. The nature of reality is such that when society comes together, you can expect the unexpected. There are everyday heroes everywhere. Be the hero where and when you can and answer the call to do the extraordinary.

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Woman Trusts Her Instincts And Delivers Her Own Baby Inside of a Car

By | Food for thought, inspiring, motherhood, mothers, pregnant, relationships, stories, uplifting news

With a baby on the way and miles from home or hospital, one remarkable mom took matters into her own hands.

Labor day

When 35-year-old opera singer Emily Geller Hardman was attending a wedding in Lancaster Pennsylvania with husband Travis Hardman, she was packing more than just a dress.

Emily was 37 weeks pregnant with their second child, but that didn’t stop her from enjoying a great night full of dancing without a hitch.

Everything was going smoothly until that night at the hotel when Hardman’s water suddenly broke. Amazingly unphased, she went back to sleep to rest up for a trip to the hospital with Travis.

It turns out the baby had other plans.

That’s because just a few hours and many intense contractions later, she was in back of the couple’s car as Travis raced to the nearest hospital. Talking with PEOPLE, he remembers the chaos clearly.

“She was like, ‘pull over,’ and I said, ‘I can’t pull over here. It’s a deathtrap.”

– Travis Hardman

DIY Delivery

Finally, Travis found a spot for them to safely pull over and Hardman to get out and stretch. She was barely hanging on.

“I remember my legs were shaking,” she says. “I was thinking, ‘I’m bearing down too early. I’m pushing too early.’ I had no control over my body at that point.”

That’s when her motherly instinct kicked in.

“But, I willed myself back into the car at that point because I just thought, ‘Well, we have to make it to the hospital.’ “

Back in the car, Harden tells GMA that she summoned all of her preparation and research on breathing and prenatal exercises to trust her body.

“This baby was coming out of me one way or another,” she said.

“I either needed to, for lack of a better word, get on board with what was happening and just allow my body to do what it was doing or I could fight it tooth and nail, which didn’t seem like it was going to be helpful.”

– Emily Geller Hardman

And then, they were two.

“I was just feeling a lot of pressure,” recounted Hardman. “So instinctually, I just put my hands down and then I felt the head and immediately after that, she flew out in the next contraction. I caught her and brought her up to my chest and I said, ‘There’s the baby.’ “

In one fell swoop, out came a beautiful and healthy Rosemary Claire. An ambulance arrived 10 minutes later to transport them to the hospital for some much-need R & R.

Preparation creates courage

Amazingly, Hardman downplays any stress from the wild birth. Instead, she credits being an opera singer and especially the work she put in to being ready for the moment.

“You have to perform at a high level under stress, so you’re used to those types of situations and having to focus on what you’re doing and not how you’re doing.”

– Emily Geller Hardman

Much of that comes from her belief that childbirth is a process a mother should own.

“I think I’m really lucky in a lot of ways, but I do view birthing babies as a natural process, and that for the most part, it doesn’t need a lot of intervention,” she says. 

Hardman’s wild story shows that however a woman chooses to give birth — and whatever unexpected bumps happen along the way — it’s a process to own and savour.

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Shaq Surprises Struggling Mom Who Couldn’t Afford School Supplies For Kids

By | celebs, Food for thought, inspiring, Inspiring Celebrities, Shaquille O'Neal

Apparently, NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal’s heart is as big as one can expect for a man of his size.

He bought a laptop for a struggling mom

Shaquille O’Neal is known for his thunderous dunks (including ones that broke the backboard), winning four NBA championships and his often-hilarious mid-game analysis on TNT. But he’s becoming known for something else — acts of kindness.

Shaq’s latest good deed was revealed on the podcast, “Million Dollaz Worth of Game.” On the show, he explained how he purchased a computer for a mother who couldn’t afford school laptops for her kids.

“I got you,” Shaq recalled saying while at the cash register, according to ESPN.

He realized his privileged position

Shaq added that after a career as an NBA star and a current analyst, the price of a computer makes little financial impact on him, so it was worth doing what he could to help.

“$1,500 ain’t nothing to me but — mom trying to help her babies go to school. … do it,” he added.

My motto lately is it could be worse, and that could be you.

Shaquille O’Neal

Shaq is a do gooder

This is far from the only act of kindness to go viral for Shaq. He paid for the funeral of an 18-year-old Florida teenager who was shot and killed, as well as for an 11-year-old Louisiana boy who died in a car crash.

And this isn’t even the first time Shaq has purchased a laptop for an unsuspecting stranger. In early 2020, an Atlanta man gave the 7-footer condolences for the loss of his sister Ayesha Harrison Jex as well as former teammate Kobe Bryant, so Shaq bought him a computer.

“I like y’all, so get the nicest one in here and I’ll pay for it,” the man recalled Shaq saying.

Share the wealth

Shaq unquestionably worked hard to become as wealthy as he is today, but what he rightfully realizes is that others are not as fortunate and could use an uplift. Hopefully, he continues carrying out these random acts of kindness and inspires others to follow suit.

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Billie Eillish’s Parents Are Not The Reason Why She Is Successful

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

No artist has taken the world by storm with such swiftness over the last few years as Billie Eilish

The 19-year-old California native doesn’t just stand as one of the industry’s most beloved, intriguing, and critically acclaimed musicians; she has practically come to represent the entirety of Gen-Z, whether it’s through her oversized clothing, her striking hairstyles, her macabre visuals, her dark goth-pop sound, or her remarkable ability to be brutally honest about mental health. 

While Billie’s fashion style and unique musical stylings capture the lion’s share of attention, it must be noted that her personal life is just as fascinating in more than a few ways. We were able to get a glimpse into her private sphere through her 2021 documentary Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry, but there’s undoubtedly more to be explored in terms of her dynamics with brother Finneas and parents Maggie and Patrick O’Connell. 

So let’s take a few moments and chronicle the early life of Billie Eilish. As it turns out, her success becomes all the sweeter once you take her upbringing and family history into account:

Billie Eilish was born to “unemployed actors” who “knew no one” in the industry

Billie Eilish was born Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell on December 18, 2001, to Maggie Baird and Patrick O’Connell. 

Maggie worked as an actor, vocal artist, and screenwriter through the nineties and early aughts. She’d been a background artist in popular television series like Friends, The X-Files, Curb Your Enthusiasm and was even involved with The Groundlings as a member and teacher. While at The Groundlings, a sketch comedy troupe, Maggie worked with up-and-coming comedians like Will Ferrell, Melissa McCarthy, and Kristen Wiig. 

Billie’s dad Patrick played bit parts in a handful of shows and movies, including The West Wing, Baskets, Iron Man. Patrick and Maggie met while filming a project in Alaska and married in 1995. They welcomed their first child, son Finneas, in 1997. 

It’s true that both of Billie’s parents were in the industry, and therefore she didn’t necessarily struggle with finding support, both emotional and financial, from her folks. Yet, it’s key to remember that Billie shouldn’t outright be accused of nepotism. Her parents weren’t huge A-listers who had assistants, agents, and PR professionals lined up at their door, catering to each and every one of their desires and ego trips. They were working actors who lived paycheck to paycheck and were highly dependent on their next role to get them through the month and pay their bills. This is the case for the majority of actors in the entertainment industry; you go through roles one after the other in the hopes of catching a lucky break one day and landing a consistent gig.

During my lifetime, our parents were never able to fully financially support us off of their work as actors. Our dad worked 12 hour days 7 days a week as a construction worker for Mattel and our mom was a teacher. Our parents gave us love but knew no one in the record industry. 

Finneas via Insider

As per Rolling Stone and confirmed by Billie’s dad himself, they were “unemployed actors” who decided to press pause on their careers to homeschool their children and nurture their creative abilities. Maggie and Patrick ensured that their children were fully encouraged to pursue and excel in their passions — despite the family’s unstable financial situation. 

Billie and her brother Finneas were homeschooled so that they could focus on “creating” music

Maggie shared in an interview that Finneas was only able to attend a singing lesson because she’d arranged to cook for the teacher during the lesson. Similarly, Patrick exchanged handyman services for Billie’s gymnastic classes. These sorts of sacrifices extended to their household as well — Maggie and Patrick chose to “sleep on the futon in the living room” so that Billie and Finneas could be spared from sharing a room. 

Both Maggie and Patrick were amateur musicians and kept three pianos in their modest two-bedroom house, with music residing in every “nook and cranny” of their home. Maggie taught her children the basics of songwriting so that they could develop a passion for creating and writing music. In fact, nothing gave the parents more joy than seeing their children becoming budding, thriving artists before their very eyes. 

We had a rule growing up that was kind of a household respected thing of just no matter what time it was, no matter how old we were, if we were creating, writing music, playing piano, playing guitar, or any instrument at all, we could stay up as long as we were doing that. 

Billie Eilish to Vanity Fair

The family faced their share of financial difficulties, but they worked together to treat their children to whichever tools and structures they needed to succeed as ambitious young artists. Billie also added that “being creative” was the most critical consideration in their household — not the technical “esoterica you’ll never use” from high school. 

Billie pays her parents a salary to join her on the road and says she wants to “make a movie” with them

Maggie and Patrick sacrificed several luxuries and privileges when raising Billie and Finneas, so it’s only fitting that they’re able to reap the rewards of Billie’s outstanding career. 

Finneas revealed in a tweet last year that he paid off his parents’ mortgage and that “Billie pays them each salaries to tour with [them] full time,” even though Maggie and Patrick had allegedly told them that they would do it at no cost. Billie broke out early — her debut song ‘Ocean Eyes,’ produced by Finneas in their bedroom, blew up on SoundCloud when Billie was just 13. By the time she had launched her debut studio album, she had accumulated north of a billion streams on Spotify and other music streaming platforms. 

Therefore, her mom and dad had to adapt to the onslaught of fame rapidly. When Patrick realized that Billie’s career was taking off, he decided to quit his construction job and become her “one-man crew,” undertaking everything from driving the van to doing the lights, as per Rolling Stone. His handyman skills are as helpful as ever when he joins his daughter on tour — he takes it upon himself to “fix whatever needs fixing,” whether it’s carpentry or cleaning up the floors. 

As for Maggie, she works around the clock as Billie’s “psychological gatekeeper.” She’s the first and frequently the only point of contact between Billie and the rest of the world. She’ll ensure that her daughter’s mental health is prioritized, that the 37-person crew is content and getting along, and that the siblings remain focused on the big picture. 

You also know that someone has to be completely your child’s advocate. That’s fallen to us. She can speak up for herself, and she does. But sensing that she needs a break or she’s tired, that’s mom.

Maggie Baird on Your Teen Mag

Billie, on the other hand, has nothing but immense love and respect for her parents’ sacrifices. She said Maggie is the “best mama in the world” and that she and her dad are “very similar.” She also expressed admiration for Maggie and Patrick’s respective skillsets in the arts and said that she wishes they’d had more recognition early on. Her ultimate goal is to make a movie featuring the two of them, said Billie. 

My dad is the best actor I’ve ever seen. And my mom can do all these voices and characters — she’s incredible. So I wish they’d had more recognition. I actually want to make a movie and put them in it — I’ve never told anyone that. 

Billie Eilish on Rolling Stone

You’ll never be able to measure your parents’ sacrifices

The love for a child is immeasurable. Some parents will sail the seven seas to put a smile on their child’s face or die trying. Of course, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t enough toxic or abusive families around to disprove this theory, but we should also acknowledge the vast majority of mothers and fathers only want the best for their children. Some will have their own way of expressing their goodwill, but most will make their sacrifices in their little way. 

Maggie and Patrick were thought to have spoiled Billie and Finneas with their industry perks, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The media and the public overestimated their fame, not knowing that they’ve fought tooth and nail to cultivate creativity in their children and lead them towards the arts. They could have just taken the easy way out and only remain focused on their basic necessities. Yet, they made it a mission to foster their talent and empower them to create beautiful, fulfilling art. We’ll never truly measure how much parents have given up for us, but we can at least show appreciation every step of the way.

When Shaq Overheard A Man Struggling To Purchase An Engagement Ring, He Did This

By | Food for thought, generosity, inspiring, Inspiring Celebrities, inspiring celebs, Inspiring Stories, sports, stories, uplifting news

Shaquille O’Neal is a very famous, accomplished, and wealthy man – but he recently showed yet again that what he’s truly rich in is generosity.

A true gem

Recently, the NBA superstar was at an Atlanta-area Zales store, where he actually has his own jewelry collection. That’s when he saw a man about to purchase an engagement ring – and took out his own credit card to pay for it. He told the story to NBA on TNT.

“I seen a guy come in — he was just so shy and he was saying, ‘Hey, how much do I owe to pay off my ring?’”


“And I was like, ‘How much is the ring?’ ” he said, and then stepped in to pay instead of the man at the counter.

Shaq then gave his card to the cashier, and shook the hand of the customer, who seemed kind of shocked at what was happening.

“I always get off 30 minutes before you come in here,” the cashier told Shaq, also excited at what they were witnessing.

An elite philanthropist

Shaq is known for his charitable actions and kindness to others. During the pandemic he bought a fan a computer at Best Buy. He also donated all the proceeds generated from his Super Bowl party in Miami to the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation as well as the families of the helicopter crash victims.

He be a legendary athlete, but he also seems to be a legendary kind of good guy.

Copy the play

Most of us aren’t as wealthy as Shaq, but there are other ways to follow his lead in the generosity department. Resources other than money, like time, expertise, love, and support could all greatly help someone in need. Just stay alert and willing, and you could be reaching Shaq levels of charity in no time.

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How Mariska Hargitay Fell For Her Co-Star—Not The One You Expect

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

Over 21 years after the first episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit premiered, Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni are still close friends. The actors co-starred for 12 years as the dynamic detective duo Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler, before Meloni left in 2011 over a contract disagreement. Through it all, however, they’ve remained close, and fans got a long-awaited chance to see them reunite onscreen in a special episode of SVU, airing April 1, 2021, right before the premiere of the brand new spinoff, Law & Order: Organized Crime, in which Meloni came back to play Stabler again after a full decade. How’s all that for full circle?

The reunion, of course has breathed new life into some old burning questions that many fans had (nay, have) about the pair’s undeniable chemistry. It should be noted that as much as fans may have wanted the two to get together, Meloni has been happily married to his wife, artist Doris Sherman Williams since 1995, and that Hargitay fell for actor Peter Hermann (who she met when he guest starred on SVU), and the couple have been happily married since 2004. Meloni and Hargitay are both content and have their own families (hell, Hargitay is even godmother to Meloni’s daughter), so what’s with the enduring fascination, pray tell? Is it their friendship that’s misunderstood? Perhaps it’s the unspoken belief that men and women can’t have strong chemistry and be friends rather than romantic partners? 

Mariska and Christopher talk openly about their relationship

Today, Meloni, 59, and Hargitay, 57, still spirited as ever, decided to tickle fans’ expectations in advance of their on-screen reunion. To this day, the pair contend that they felt an instant bond upon meeting, with Meloni describing how they “walked into the screen test…and we get up onstage in front of all the suits, and we’re just so engaged,” and Hargitay recalled:

I walked in, saw him, and I went, ‘That guy. That’s the guy.’ It went deep, very fast…I won’t say that I fully understood it, but I knew that meeting him was important and life-changing. My father, my husband, [Law & Order creator] Dick Wolf and Chris are the four pillar men in my life. And that happened early.

When the pair got back together to film their reunion episode after a whole decade, it’s hardly surprising that everything clicked right back into place—almost as though no time had passed at all. “It was this thing that I had really dreamed about,” says Hargitay. “It was Pavlovian,” says Meloni. “Ring that bell, and you get right into Stabler and Benson.” 

“We know each other and mess around socially and all that,” he says, “but when we got down and cameras were rolling … it was such a seamless, effortless endeavor. It was great.”

“There was so much shorthand between us, which all goes back to the trust we have,” Hargitay says. “He’s always made me feel like I could just jump off the ledge, the cliff, the bridge, and he would catch me, in so many ways, whether it was comedy or acting or friendship.”

Meloni and Hargitay have shared their most important milestones

Mariska Hargitay and her husband Peter Hermann Credit:
Patrick McMullan / Contributor

The pair have seen each other through many a life milestone and are still going strong.

Meloni, of course, was already married to his wife when SVU began, and Hargitay remembers “The birth of his first child and being privy to his amazing, solid relationship with his wife, before I had that for myself — I think that Chris and Sherman played a really big role for me, to see this really stable couple that loved each other.” 

A few years later, Meloni watched Hargitay fall for her future husband Peter Hermann, who she now has three kids with. Meloni recently described watching them meet, and knowing beyond a doubt that they’d end up together, despite obstacles: 

“He’s on the show as a guest actor, and I’m looking at her, looking at him, and I’m seeing how she’s acting, right? I know her, and I’m like, ‘Oh boy. Here we go.’ And she’s just, ‘Tee-hee, tee-hee, I don’t even care about him or anything like that.’…Sure enough, they start dating…After they’d been dating a long time, she came in one day and she was crushed. She goes, ‘Peter and I had a really deep, long conversation. We cried, and I just don’t think it’s going to work.’”

And she’s sobbing, and the whole time, the [thought] bubble in my head was just: ‘You’ll be married within five months.’ That’s all I was thinking. I knew. I knew.

Christopher Meloni

Ever have a friend know you better than you know yourself? If that’s not intimate friendship, I don’t know what is. 

Friendship, a many splendored thing

To anyone out there who still wishes Hargitay had fallen for Meloni, and that they had shrugged off their respective romances for one another, think again. Hargitay did not fall for the wrong co-star. On the contrary, she’s lucky enough to have both a great love and an infallible friendship with a man. If you’re among those who limit friendship to same-sex relationships (or judge others for not doing so), it may be time to reexamine your reasons for that, your fears—and maybe even those of your spouse/partner. It never hurts to reevaluate those inner settings of ours.

Bottom line: it’s time we all celebrate Hargitay and Meloni for what they do have: a truly incredible friendship. As a society, we have endless reference points for what romantic love should look like, but not so many for what friendship should look like—particularly ones between opposite genders. But we should. In the interest of healthy, well-rounded relationships, I say it’s time to create new reference points for friendship. Reference 1: Hargitay and Meloni. 

Hargitay talks about how before she met her husband, Meloni being in a very strong relationship with his wife made her “feel even safer with him, as opposed to: ‘Great guy — but single.’ Or ‘Great guy — except for his romantic life.’ Instead, he’s this man who is as solid as a rock, and who is that rock in his relationship. And I got to lean on it when I needed to. It was like family.”

Meloni credits their long-lasting friendship to one thing. “It’s simple,” he says. “We have each other’s back.”

Woman Unceremoniously Dumps Toxic Boyfriend After Constant Body Shaming

By | body positivity, dating, Food for thought, inspiring, Inspiring Stories, relationships, stories, uplifting news

One body-shaming boyfriend learned a hard lesson about respect when he crossed the wrong girl.


23-year-old Shelby Johnson has spent years struggling with her weight. 

Things got so serious that as a teen, she had to be hospitalized after dropping down to a brittle 80 lbs. After that scare she managed to put on weight, along with self-esteem, she tells People.

“I haven’t been self-conscious in years. I was when I was underweight, but when I started getting to my goal weight my entire mindset changed”

– Shelby Johnson

“I felt more confident, more whole even. I knew that I was getting where I wanted to be and strived to be”

A devastating DM

Things were going so well that Johnson would even find a boyfriend who she thought loved and accepted her for who she was. 

That was until one day, when he DM’ed her with a particular complaint.

“It’s not like I haven’t told you you’ve been gaining and needed to lose anyway. You’re definitely getting a beer gut babe.”

– Shelby Johnson’s boyfriend, per her Tweet

In that moment, all of her insecurities returned, she shared.

“His comments did make me self-conscious. I started trying to work out 24/7. A couple friends noticed and expressed concern in my sudden desire to be so fit. ”

As she began to question her own response to her boyfriend’s message, Johnson took to Twitter to ask her friends if she was overreacting for feeling hurt.

Dumping dead weight 

She received more than just a second opinion.

Her tweet went viral, gaining nearly 39,500 likes and 5,200 from people telling her to dump her boyfriend, and that she’s beautiful already.

“He doesn’t deserve you. No need to keep that negativity around. You look great,” said one.

“Girl, dump him and find you someone who loves everything about you,” urged another.

Another commenter recommended an upgrade from her boyfriend.

“Dump him and buy a dog:)”

– @ktmlowe_ on Twitter

Johnson says that the overwhelming reaction “made me realize I wasn’t crazy for being hurt.” In another tweet, she announced that she dumped her boyfriend, joking that in doing so she was “dropping a hefty 180 lbs.”

Know your worth

Johnson says that although her now-ex-boyfriend was “really unhappy” about being dumped so publicly, he’ll use it as “a learning experience to be a better person.”

She just hopes that her painful experience serves as an eye-opener for women with similar experiences.

“Be careful, notice red flags and don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and leave something that is no longer making you feel happy”

– Shelby Johnson

When it comes to relationships, compromises are important. It’s part of understanding, accepting and ultimately embracing one another.

However, one thing that’s non-negotiable is mutual respect. As Johnson’s story showed, anyone who disrespects or demeans you doesn’t deserve your time of day, let alone your love.

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Restaurant Owner Catches Robber Red-Handed And Offers Him A Job

By | compassion, Food for thought, humility, inspiring, kindness, stories, uplifting news

The owner of a restaurant in Georgia decided to practice humility rather than fury at a suspected burglar.

He offered the burglar a job

Security camera footage at a Diablo’s Southwest Grill in Georgia caught a man bursting into the restaurant and stealing what he could gather. But in a surprising twist, the owner wasn’t upset.

“Our burritos are such a smash hit we’ve got people breaking in at 4am for their fix,” wrote owner Carl Wallace in a Facebook post. “So if ya see our door looking hurricane fabulous at Wheeler Rd this is why.”

Wallace continued, offering compassion to the suspect. “To the would-be robber who is clearly struggling with life decisions or having money issues… please swing by for a job application. There are better opportunities out there than this path you’ve chosen.”

Wallace then offered his personal cell phone number and assured the burglar that police wouldn’t be called.

“Let’s sit down and talk about how we could help you and fix the road you’re on.”

Customers loved it

The post has received more than 4,500 reactions and an outpouring support from the public as well as customers.

“I saw a Facebook page on Connect Augusta, and I thought it was probably one of the best things that I had ever read,” customer Cher Best told WRDW. “So as a result of what I read and the compassion, that was part of that Facebook post, I wanted to support the business.”

A Facebook comment from Liz Bellmer read: “I know what I’m having for lunch….as a small business owner who recently had to close my doors because of loss of revenue due to COVID, I appreciate your civility and your way of seeing this. We need more people like you who try to put a positive spin on crappy situations. Positivity should always win.”

Turning the other cheek

Wallace said the burglar didn’t steal much — just some cash from the register. But the risk he took was extremely high.

“They’re risking so much every time they do this: to the business owner, to themselves, or what could happen if the police show up during the process of the break-in,” he told WRDW.

The break-in was on Easter weekend, and Wallace added that was one of the reasons that he and his team decided to be compassionate.

“Instead of having the normal response of being angry, we decided to reach out, and say this is a bad career path that you’re on, and we’re willing to offer you a job if you’re willing to change what you’re doing in life.”

Carl Wallace

Doing the right thing

Is one man’s compassion going to fix the systemic problems that led this burglar to want to rob a burrito restaurant — no. But it does have the capability to change the trajectory of a life, and at the end of the day, that’s all anyone can really hope for.

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