Tag Archives: birthdays

Campaign Video Teaches Lessons in Empathy for War Torn Families

If you made a compilation video of one second of every day for a year, what would it look like? A campaign video to raise awareness of the political strife in Syria wanted to show you what it would look like for a child stuck in the middle of a war zone. It follows a little girl from blowing the candles out on her birthday cake to exactly one year later. She goes to school. She reads books. She hangs out with her parents. Then small things start to change and rapidly her one one second a day shows her being scared, being shuffled from place to place, her neighborhood being bombed, refugee camps and hospitals.

The tagline of the video is “Just because it isn’t happening here doesn’t mean it isn’t happening somewhere.” It’s an eerie message as the world watches the current situation unfolding between Ukraine and Russia. Will those children lead similar lives to the girl in this video? How many candles will they blow out on their next birthday cake? It is naive to think that any singular one of us can have an effect on those less fortunate than us or that we have the power to save all of those stuck in tumultuous political climates. We can’t save them, but what we can do – and are encouraged to do with videos like this – is look at ourselves and bring more empathy into our every day lives. When all of us start looking at our actions as having ripple effects then we create a more compassionate global community.

The world doesn’t change with one person but we can start making a small difference with one intent at a time. Thanks to this video I intend to live with more empathy. What can you do to make the world a more compassionate place?

From Intent.com: I intend to celebrate!

This Week: My intent is to celebrate!

Do not regret growing older.
It is a privilege denied to many.

This summer has been a mess.

I left a new job and went back to a job with not enough hours to pay my bills. I upgraded from a studio apartment into a wonderful two bedroom apartment only to have to move a month later and found a new place with only 4 days to spare. I lost a grandfather and a grandmother. Between time, money and distance, I wasn’t at  either funeral. I cried a lot. I was very stressed. I probably made my friends wish they were deaf so they couldn’t hear my whining.

My birthday is on Friday. I turn 28. WHAT? Yes. It’s the oldest I’ve ever been.

Birthdays have always been a big deal in my family. That’s something for which I’m super grateful. After the past three months, I’m even more grateful for a time to stop and celebrate. I can start with the fact that I’m alive. Considering the number of people lost every year to disease, war, and random acts of God – making it another 365 days deserves some attention. It was 365 more days to call my mom so she could tell me what our family dogs had gotten into that day. It was 365 more days to go see comedy shows with my best friend and lay on a California beach just because. It was 365 more days to enjoy things like pumpkin pancakes and Easter candy and Thanksgiving dinner. Not everyone gets to say they’ve had 28 Christmases, 28 birthday parties, 28 anniversaries of waking up on this Earth another year.

I intend to celebrate because gratitude and happiness are good for your soul. There are legitimately terrible things that happen every day. In LA, sometimes it’s a struggle just to get groceries into your house without putting your back out. The unfortunate part is that terrible things have this way of being so loud and in your face. They seem bigger than the wonderful things, but trust me, they’re not. You can spend 24 hours focused on the dent on your bumper, the watered down coffee at work, the obnoxious person who just called to yell at you on the phone, or you can spend that same amount of time thinking about pictures of puppies on Instagram, drinking chai tea lattes with coffee ice cubes or telling someone how much you love them. You get the same amount of time everyday. Spend it thinking about things that won’t give you an ulcer or make your hair fall out.

I intend to celebrate because cake is good. And presents are good. And people you love paying for your dinner at fancy restaurants? Also good. Celebrate whether or not it’s your birthday. Because it’s good.


This is the inaugural post in MeLissa’s weekly column where she’ll explore the power of setting intents in her own life and for those around her. She will also news from Intent.com and guest intents that have inspired her. Want to be part of it? Sign up at Intent.com and start sharing your intents! 

Kick in the Tush Club: Brain Scans, Birthdays, Red Velvet Cake (oh my!)

The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.  ~ Maya Angelou

How are YOU, Dear Tushkateer??!?

It’s been quite the week here; chock-a-block with life. (Five Oy Veys and Six Hail Mary’s on that one!)  It included but was not limited to brain scans, birthdays and red velvet cake!

Half way through the week, on Hump Day (aptly named), I celebrated my birthday. I have a long and happy history of birthday celebrations.

My first recollection of happy birthday celebrations dates back to my 5th birthday, on which day I awoke early.   Early enough to find both my mother and father sitting at the kitchen table, enjoying their morning coffee and toast; my father’s always slathered thick with marmalade, as they listened to the local radio station.

Miraculously, within minutes after my arrival, the radio announcer, in his deeply seductive announcer voice, said, “We here at WBDY wish Janice a Happy 5th Birthday!  Janice, if you look under the living room sofa, you will find your gifts!”  I scurried and slid into the living room with the speed and determination of a major league baseball player sliding into home, as I reached for and retrieved my gifts.  I remember not a even one present, but I do remember the excitement!

Fast forward to this birthday, if you will.  The ‘big’ celebrations with my favorite people on the planet – my kids – were scheduled for the weekends, thereby leaving the actual day wide open to celebrate in any manner that I wished.  A no-brainer, really!   Given my mother’s age (nearing 96 years old – come July) and her recent decline (not mammoth but the ‘cracks’ are beginning to show), I chose to visit with her.  Not to be maudlin, but who knows what next year might bring.

I arrived with a bowl of freshly cut pineapple, grapes places around the edges.  Sorry that I do not have a photo of it, because it really did resemble a birthday cake, and I do believe y’all would have enjoyed it!!!

Anyway … when I arrived my mother was a bit foggy about it being my birthday.  We reviewed the date a few times, but at the end of the day, it still didn’t seem to register in the way that one might expect it to.

At the same time, mom is fully aware that she cannot remember.  Essentially, she remembers that she can’t remember. And she remains determined to find a way to remember.  So, she suggested, “Why don’t I note your birthday on my calendar.  Then I won’t have to actively remember.”   So – we did just that.  We wrote in big letters on this particular hump day, “Janice B.day.”

Once that was out of the way, we sweetly remembered all the birthday cakes that had come before this fruity one, as well as radio announcements, et al.  Then, rather nonchalantly, mom inquired as to the results of the CT brain scan she’d had the week before, wanting to know if she was officially ‘crazy.’  I told that the scan showed small changes but nothing to speak about, which was true.  No point in speaking about it!    And I assured her that she was not crazy, which is true as well.  Perhaps she is lacking a bit of oxygen, but not crazy.

As I road the 20 minute subway ride back home, I reviewed the day, past birthdays, past cakes and I decided with extreme awareness (no lying to myself, no guilt, no shame, no strings attached) to stop at the best bakery in Harlem, Lee Lee’s, and pick up a slice of red velvet cake with icing atop.

To be clear, I was not eating cake to push down, submerge or anesthetize my feelings.  I am in favor of feeling whatever is ‘there’ for a myriad of reasons.  This slice of cake was planned, measured and counted.  If you check out the calorie count online you’ll see that red velvet cake w. icing ranges from 250 to 780 calories.  To the best that I could figure, my slice weighed in at 450 calories.

I waited for Peter to get home from work (not that I had any intention of sharing my slice of cake, but I thought it more festive to eat it with someone).  We cued up American Idol (Top 3)!  We watched, and during commercial breaks, we muted the TV as I savored the bittersweet flava’ of the day.

And then it was time to Move On!  Into the rest of my life.

Which brings me to this week’s KICK in the TUSH CLUB e-letter, fully loaded and overflowing with inspiration, motivation, dysfunctional yet righteous recipes, play and lose it jigsaw fun and more!    Enjoy!!!

Spread the word … NOT the icing!


Life & Weight Loss Success Coach
wise * fun * utterly useful

More Happy, Healthy Birthdays!

Recent survey results released by the American Cancer Society reinforce, once again, the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, and the findings are definitely cause for celebration.  The online survey, which showed a strong link between health and attitudes about birthdays, revealed that people who say they are in excellent health are more likely to consider birthdays special and exciting events. 

In addition, the survey found that people who say they are in excellent health are nearly twice as likely to love celebrating birthdays, generally consider them fun and feel more special on their birthday than people who say they are in poor health.

Clearly, these results are another reminder about the benefits of leading a healthy and balanced lifestyle.  Not only will you look and feel great, but you’ll also be a brilliant birthday party guest!   

The results are part of the Society’s Official Sponsor of Birthdays campaign, which asks people to imagine a world with more birthdays.  More birthdays mean more time with our friends and family, and more opportunities to celebrate the important milestones in their lives. 

A big part of the American Cancer Society’s effort to create more birthdays is helping people stay well by making healthy choices in their daily lives.  Whether you’re planning a party for a child, an adult, or yourself, there are fun and creative ways to make your celebration one that will help create more birthdays for years to come.

Get Active.

To get your guests moving, pick an action-oriented theme for your birthday celebration – pool parties, soccer games, dance parties, or scavenger hunts are great fun for kids and grown-ups alike. There’s nothing like a little healthy competition!

Be Prepared.

If you’re hosting an outdoor party, have sunscreen (at least SPF 15) and extra hats on hand for guests who might have forgotten them. If you’re hosting your celebration indoors, find a smoke-free restaurant or venue or have it at your house and remind guests that cigarettes aren’t welcome.

Stay Food-Smart.

We know birthdays are about celebrating, but you can have your cake and stay healthy, too. There are plenty of healthy and delicious foods you can choose to share with your guests. Consider serving low-fat snacks like popcorn, pretzels, and baked chips and salsa and healthy meal options like grilled chicken or shrimp skewers. You can bake healthier, too, by making your birthday cake from scratch so you can control the ingredients and make smart substitutions like swapping butter for applesauce.

Give the gift of more birthdays.

Joining the movement to create a world with more birthdays isn’t limited to your own special celebration. By giving birthday gifts to friends and loved ones throughout the year with health and wellness in mind, you can help the people you care about look forward to more candles to light. Here are some creative gift ideas to help people stay well:

For cooks or want-to-be cooks:

  • Package flavored oils and vinegars in a large bowl made for salads.
  • Create a basket filled with healthy cooking utensils such as an apple corer, zester, lemon/lime juicer, garlic crusher, ginger, and nutmeg graters.
  • For the portion size conscious cook (and eater), consider giving a food scale, measuring cups, and/or attractive measuring spoons.

For foodies:

  • Create a basket with cheese, crackers, and fresh fruit, with perhaps a decorative cheese spreader.
  • Package dried fruits and nuts in a unique serving dish with pretty cocktail napkins.
  • Collect your favorite healthy recipes and give them in a recipe journal so they can also record their own.
  • Give a cooking class gift certificate
  • Give a subscription to a favorite healthy cooking magazine.
  • Give a gift certificate to your favorite local healthy restaurant.

For those wanting to be more active:

  • Give a gift certificate to a local athletic shoe and apparel store.
  • Include a step counter/pedometer with an mp3 player.
  • Package a jump rope, exercise band, set of hand weights, and/or workout ball for an all around healthy workout.
  • Make coupons for babysitting so your friend can work out while you watch the kids.
  • Make workout buddy coupons and commit to get up three days a week to walk before work with your friend, if that’s what she wants to do.
  • Give a gift certificate for a tennis lesson, packaged with a water bottle and flashy colored tennis balls.
  • Give a gift certificate for a golf lesson, with a book on the best public courses to play (and encourage your golfing buddy to join the USGA Walking Member Program).
  • Give a gift subscription to a favorite health magazine such as Fitness, Runners World, Walking, Golf Digest, Bicycling, etc.
  • Give an exercise mat and workout tapes or CDs for home use.
  • Volleyball net and ball
  • Badminton racquets and shuttlecocks
  • A yearly pass to a local or national park
  • Croquet set
  • Baby jogger

Thanks in part to the efforts of the American Cancer Society, eleven million cancer survivors will mark their birthdays this year.  What‘s not to celebrate about that?   

To join me and the Society in the movement for more birthdays, visit www.morebirthdays.com


Advent Calendar:Boxing Day!-The 1st Day of Christmas and My Birthday!



I guess today my Advent gift to you is well me! 🙂 I don’t mean it in an egotistical way as in I’m that great so as to be given as a gift. Nor do I mean it that I see myself as a material that can be given. But I give of myself to you all the time when I sit and type and pour my thoughts out to you on here and so I’m always in some small way giving myself to you each day or whenever I blog. Of course you also so graciously give of yourself to me when you take the time to read and appreciate my words! 🙂 And today is the symbolic day of my birth…symbolic cause I was born on this date yes…but…not this year…and so really one’s birthday can never be recreated but we social human beings like to symbolically mark it every year and count the years as they pass by…

The way society is structured we count the years and compare ourselves to others in our pool so we know that the average life expectancy of a man or a woman is such and such. If they are overweight or live such and such life style they chop off or add on years to that expectancy…and then like they decided at what ages you can and cannot do such and such…your risk of this increases…this happens….so as a female you should try to have all your kids below 30 cause then the risk of down syndrome goes from 1% to I think 10% and then there is menopause…and infertility…and then as you get older…check for cancer also if you did do like they said and had those kids early your risk for cancer now would have been less! Worry bout this…you might get Alzheimer’s by this age and Osteoporosis if…But really to me why count the numbers and what does society use these numbers for anyway if only to pretend they can check the odds? Do the math… tally the probabilities for when this and this will or that will not happen! And then compare all of us unique beings that we are to some average Joe and Josephine that the numbers created! One things for sure we are a numbers game society!

It is one thing when they try to understand the human body and the natural world it lives in but imagine how bad it gets when society then proceeds to make up it’s own laws that tell us by what age we should finish school and by what age we should get married and what age we should have a career by and when it doesn’t make sense to change it by and when we should retire…and don’t talk bout the financial whizzes who tells us by what age we should save such and such less we want to retire penniless and the list goes on! What a life …what a life!

Thing is who knows…I like the Hindi saying…Ram Jaane…Ram (God) knows…and I also like to say Hum Na Jaane (Don’t know or dunno know…or the famous shrug that has a nice smiley face I find on some applications)Of course we all have to pretend to know…not that we are being incompetent when we pretend to know by the way. I mean when doctors say such and such …they are saying it based on their training and case histories and same goes for engineers and other professions that deal with natural laws…but of course we can never truly know. Science is faced with bizarre incidents and anomalies all the time! However by and large the numbers do average out…is it that we are more or less as a society right? Or is it if enough people collective believe something it happens…can the mass focus on something happening make it happen? I dunno but I’ve been focusing a bit more on such things in the last half of this year…taking part in the peace intention experiment….praying globally as part of the candle4tibet effort and then I created Universal Collective Prayer. All in the effort to find out if ‘Thinking makes it so? or ‘Can our thoughts really shape the world we want to see?’

I dunno…Hum Na Jaane…I know the scientists say that as societies we say Ram Jaane …God Knows…and toss it up to the great big sky when we can’t scientifically hone it down and write an equation explaining some law…but if we can’t it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. So shrugging it off and saying Hum Na Jaane or Ram Jaane is certainly to me a better place than saying I know when I don’t really know and then saying I know it doesn’t exist cause I can’t prove it. Also if I can prove how something happens and understand how it repeats itself such that I can develop a law around it and an equation to relate it…it still doesn’t tell me why it happened or it still doesn’t tell me if I did or did not come from and will return to that great big spirit in the sky! But I’m going with the song and I’d like to thing that the one thing I know is….Spirit in the Sky…that’s when I die…I’m going up to the Spirit in the Sky! 🙂 But unlike the song I think it doesn’t matter who Ram or Jesus or whoever you befriend…and even if you sin…you going up there…you may then recycle but you going back up…

So here I am symbolically a child born onto you a day after the symbolic birth of the Christ child. From all accounts I’ve read Jesus made his big impacts and his big speeches into his 30s so who knows there might be hope for me yet…not that I’m trying to blaspheme and offend anyone by suggesting I am in the same ilk but I do believe the great one did walk a path so that we would emulate it not simply adorn it! And so in that respect we should all attempt to be more Christ like…



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