January 25, 2015

Positivity: Pro-Life Sign of the Day

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:00 am

In Washington on Thursday (HT Daily Signal):

ApersonIsAperson0115

January 24, 2015

Positivity: RIP, Ernie Banks

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Chicago — my first sports idol as a kid and a lifelong hero has passed away:

Ernie Banks dies at age 83

ErnieBanks

“Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks, the Hall of Fame slugger and two-time MVP who never lost his boundless enthusiasm for baseball despite years of playing on losing Chicago Cubs teams, died Friday night. He was 83.

The Cubs paid tribute to Banks on the Wrigley marquee Friday night:

CubsErnieBanksTweet012415.jpg

The Cubs announced Banks’ death, but did not provide a cause.

“Words cannot express how important Ernie Banks will always be to the Chicago Cubs, the city of Chicago and Major League Baseball. He was one of the greatest players of all time,” Tom Ricketts, chairman of the Cubs, said in a statement released by the team. “He was a pioneer in the major leagues. And more importantly, he was the warmest and most sincere person I’ve ever known.

“Approachable, ever optimistic and kind hearted, Ernie Banks is and always will be Mr. Cub. My family and I grieve the loss of such a great and good-hearted man, but we look forward to celebrating Ernie’s life in the days ahead.”

Though he played in 14 All-Star Games from 1953 to ’71, Banks never reached the postseason, and the Cubs finished below .500 in all but six of his seasons. Still, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977, the first year he was eligible, and selected to baseball’s All-Century team in 1999.

Banks’ infectious smile and nonstop good humor despite his team’s dismal record endeared him to Chicago fans, who voted him the best player in franchise history.

One famous admirer, “Saturday Night Live” star Bill Murray, named his son Homer Banks Murray. Former major league outfielder Dale Murphy, in a tweet Friday night, said: “Did a card show w Ernie Banks. He drove the promoter crazy! Spent time/talked with every person. After an hour had signed maybe 15.”

Banks’ No. 14 was the first number retired by the Cubs, and hangs from the left-field foul pole at Wrigley Field.

“I’d like to get to the last game of the World Series at Wrigley Field and hit three homers,” he once said. “That was what I always wanted to do.”

News of Banks’ death quickly spread throughout the sports world Friday night, with major league teams, former greats and current players taking to social media to express their condolences. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

More stories about Banks’ career are here (video at link), here (tributes), here, and here (original scouting report indicating that his attitude was “very good”).

So many athletes ultimately disappoint those who idolize them, but not Ernie Banks, who always had a heart of gold and an iron will.

Quote of the day: “Heaven-sent and now heaven-bound. Thanks, Mr. Cub!”

January 23, 2015

Positivity: Hundreds of Thousands of Pro-Lifers March for Life, Mourn 57 Million Abortions

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Washington:

1/22/15 2:55 PM

Hundreds of thousands of pro-life people turned out for the annual March for Life in Washington, braving cold temperatures to take a stand for the right to life of unborn children. While marchers mourned 42 years of legalized abortion, many sounded a hopeful theme for a pro-life future and think the decision will eventually be reversed.

The Roe v. Wade decision, handed down on January 22, 1973, overturned pro-life laws offering protection for unborn children in most states across the country, and made abortions legal and virtually unlimited. Almost 58 million unborn children have been killed in abortions since.

Polling data shows Americans are pro-life and few agree with Obama’s unlimited abortion position. Pope Francis sent out a tweet praying for the marchers.

As with other recent marches, the number of young adults and high school and college students impressed organizers and provided another reason to be optimistic. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

January 22, 2015

Positivity: Big families bring hope – not poverty, says Pope

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Jan 21, 2015 / 11:18 am

Pope Francis has rejected the “simplistic” belief that large families are among the causes of poverty, stressing that economic systems which create a culture of waste are to blame.

“Families know they are essential to the life of society,” the Pope said Jan. 21 during his first weekly general audience since returning from his Jan. 12-19 tour of Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

Speaking to the crowds gathered in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father recalled his Jan 16. meeting with 1,000 families in Manila, one of the main events of his visit to the Philippines.

“It gives consolation and hope to see many large families who welcome children as a true gift of God,” he said.

Having heard it said that large families are among the causes of poverty, the Pope described this belief as “a simplistic opinion.”

“I can say, we can all say, that the principle cause of poverty is an economic system which has removed the person from the center, and has put in his place the money-god; an economic system that always excludes children, elderly, the unemployed, and creates the culture of waste in which we live.”

In off-the-cuff remarks, Pope Francis added: “We are accustomed to seeing rejected people. This is the principle reason for poverty – not large families.”

Reflecting on Saint Joseph, who was tasked to protect the “Santo Niño”, or Holy Child, the Pope reiterated the importance of protecting the family against the “new ideological colonization, which threatens its identity and mission.

“The cure for poverty is a fundamental element of our life and Christian witness: it involves the rejection if every form of corruption which robs the poor,” while demanding “a culture of honesty.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

January 21, 2015

Positivity: Transformed crib honors stillborn boy, comforts mother

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 12:30 pm

From Cokato, Minnesota (video at link; HT to a recent Daryn Kagan post):

Posted: May 08, 2014 9:45 PM EDT
Updated: May 12, 2014 12:24 PM EDT

Losing a child at birth is a difficult loss on many levels, especially when it leaves a prepared nursery empty as a reminder — but one grieving Cokato mother got an emotional surprise when her son’s crib was re-purposed.

For most of Valarie Watts’ pregnancy, her son, Noah, was developing just fine. That all changed in the final few days.

“All week, I knew,” Watts reflected. “He wasn’t moving as much. I was very nervous.”

His umbilical cord had become pinched in the womb, and Noah was stillborn last July. Even so, she wasn’t ready to part with the crib she had prepared for him although keeping it was a reminder of the loss.

“She was kind of hesitant,” Gerald Kumpula recalled. “I knew that maybe she didn’t want to sell it, but yet, she did.”

A few miles away, Kumpula has a workshop in his garage on the outskirts of Cokato. Lately, one of the things he’s been doing is converting headboards and footboards into benches. When he spotted the crib at the Watts family garage sale in April, he inquired about it even though it wasn’t technically part of the sale.

“When he asked me if I was selling that, that he made benches, I hesitated,” Watts admitted.

At the time, Kumpula had no idea how the crib had ended up there.

“His wife was there looking through my garage sale — at some of the baby clothes — and asked how old my son was since I don’t use the crib anymore, and I told her that he had passed in July,” Watts explained.

On the way back home, the Kumpulas decided that the crib they had picked up was bound to go back. So, a week later — and as a total surprise to Watts — he returned with the converted crib and gave it to her. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

January 20, 2015

Positivity: Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Heartbeat Song’

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Life News:

Kelly Clarkson’s New “Heartbeat Song” is Set to Beat of Her Unborn Baby’s Heartbeat

On Monday, new mom and pop/country superstar Kelly Clarkson released “Heartbeat Song” — an upbeat, synth-driven single that celebrates her new baby girl in a unique way.

“The beat is actually River’s heartbeat slowed down from when she was in my tummy!” shares Clarkson in a radio interview. Clarkson and her husband Brandon Blackstock, married in 2013, welcomed their baby girl River Rose into the world on June 12, 2014.

Released in its entirety on Monday, “Heartbeat Song” raves about her experience of motherhood …

The video:

January 19, 2015

Positivity: Ring bearer and flower girl now husband and wife

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Minnesota:

2:55 p.m. EST January 13, 2015

Briggs Fussy and Brittney Husbyn’s wedding day wasn’t the first time the couple walked down the aisle together.

The bride and groom met in 1995, when he was a ring bearer in his godmother’s wedding and she was the flower girl.

“There was a picture on my wall of the two of us at the wedding together, but I don’t remember the wedding, and I didn’t know anything of her after it,” he told USA TODAY Network.

The couple reunited years later in their freshman government class at Blaine High School, outside of Minneapolis.

Fussy said his future bride turned around during class one day to show him a picture that he already knew very well.

“When I saw the picture, it clicked who she was,” he said.

The two started dating their junior year and eventually attended separate colleges — Fussy at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and Husbyn at Minnesota State University-Mankato.

“I knew in high school that I wanted to marry her,” Fussy said. “In college I kept thinking I want to be with her, and to do that I had to transfer.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

January 18, 2015

Positivity: Pro-life event designed with a California audience in mind

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Los Angeles (video at link):

Jan 13, 2015 / 07:05 pm

It’s not going to be sunny and 70 degrees in many places in the United States on Saturday, Jan. 17, but it will be in Los Angeles.

That’s why the first-of-its-kind OneLife event will be taking place outside, beginning with a walk for life and ending with a gathering in the park complete with food trucks, talks from both local and national speakers, and a concert.

The event, meant to be a family-friendly celebration of the dignity of the human person and the culture of life, is the brainchild of Archbishop Jose Gomez, who realized the Archdiocese did not have any large-scale pro-life events.

“He said, ‘Why do people have to travel to a different city to be pro-life? Why can’t they be pro-life here in L.A.?’” said Kathleen Domingo, the Life Coordinator in the Archdiocesan office of Life, Justice and Peace.

“We decided to make a family-friendly event that would embody what we mean by saying we’re pro-life and that would help build a culture of life,” she added.

The speakers and entertainers at the event will include local folks as well as some nationally known people, including: Eduardo Verastegui, actor and founder of Metanoia films, Eduardo Verastegui National Director of 40 Days for Life, Karyme Lozano, the co-star of For Greater Glory, Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, the first Superior General of the Sisters of Life, and Christian singer and song-writer Josh Garrels. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

January 16, 2015

Positivity: Venezuelan bishops condemn imposition of socialism

Filed under: Activism,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Caracas, Venezuela (bolds are mine):

Jan 13, 2015 / 01:09 pm

The Venezuelan bishops conference issued a pastoral exhortation on Monday calling on authorities and citizens alike to an ethical and spiritual renewal in order to come out of the current economic and social crisis facing the nation.

The Jan. 12 letter warned that “Marxist socialism is an erroneous path, and therefore should not be instituted.”

The bishops began their letter by recalling the events that took place at the beginning of 2014, when political upheaval lead to 43 deaths and hundreds injured.

“That grave crisis showed the need for dialogue among government leaders, the opposition, and other sectors. Thanks to the exhortations of Pope Francis and the participation of the apostoli cuncio Archbishop Aldo Giordano, among other things, a dialogue was launched that unfortunately never continued beyond the first few meetings,” the bishops said.

In recent months, the situation has worsened due to a growing economic crisis rooted in massive external debt, uncontrolled inflation, the devaluation of the currency, and shortages of basic necessities, they explained.

Adding to this widespread corruption, the drop in oil prices, and government inefficiency, the main problem and cause of this crisis is “the politico-economic system of a socialist, Marxist or communist nature,” the bishops wrote.

“This system is totalitarian and centralist, it establishes control of the state over all aspects of the lives of the citizens and public and private institutions. It also threatens freedom and the rights of persons and associations and has led to oppression and ruin in every country where it has been tried,” the bishops said.

Go here for the rest of the story.

January 15, 2015

Positivity: Sri Lankan cardinal credits papal trip for post-election peace

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Colombo, Sri Lanka:

Jan 13, 2015 / 10:05 am

After tense elections yielded a new president just days before Pope Francis’ arrival in Sri Lanka, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said that the “miracle” of a smooth transition is due in large part to the Pope’s visit.

“Before the elections there was a lot of pressure on the bishops to try and stop the Holy Father, to tell him not to come or to postpone (his visit),” Cardinal Ranjith told CNA Jan. 13.

“But we acted in good faith believing in God, that in these matters if we have faith everything succeeds…and it would seem that the miracle was worked out, that the elections went smoothly and that the transfer of power took place very, very smoothly,” he said.

Cardinal Ranjith, who was elevated to the rank of cardinal by Benedict XVI in 2010, had been waiting for the arrival of Pope Francis on Tuesday in the Archdiocese of Colombo ahead of an encounter with bishops. The pontiff never made it to the encounter, due to time strains in his schedule.

Last week Sri Lanka received a new president, Maithripala Sirisena, who was formerly the country’s health minister. He defeated former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had led the nation for nearly a decade.

Five years ago Rajapaksa was able to bring about an end to a nearly 30-year civil war Sinhala nationalists and Tamil separatists which claimed at least 60,000 lives.

However, despite bringing the war to a close, the former president had remained unpopular among the island nation’s ethnic and religious minorities, and tensions were running high ahead of last Thursday’s close-race election.

The “surprising” calm and transition of authority was due in large part to the presence of Pope Francis so soon after the elections took place, Cardinal Ranjith said.

Go here for the rest of the story.

January 14, 2015

Positivity: Ohio State fan with muscular dystrophy hoists Buckeyes’ title trophy on the field

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

At ESPN:

January, 2015

It’s easy to get caught up in all that ails college sports. There’s plenty of things to get down about — this we know.

But we also know the positive impact it has on people as well. We know it can pull our heart strings just as much as it disheartens us.

Which brings us to the story of 15-year-old Jacob Jarvis, a rabid Buckeyes fan from Ohio who just so happens to have Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder that results in muscle degeneration and unfortunately has no cure as of now. The average life expectancy is around 25 years old.

So every good moment is special for the Jarvis family. But some — well, some are more special than others. They are the genuine moments that move even those of us who have never met Jacob.

One of those occurred Monday night, as the group that has adopted Jacob as one of their own since the summer of 2013 — coach Urban Meyer calls him a “legit member of the team” — won the national championship with their teenage fan right by their side in Texas, soaking it all in on the confetti-filled field and in the raucous locker room.

Tom Rinaldi’s moving feature on his life and his adoption by the Buckeyes is here. Go there.

January 13, 2015

Positivity: This Amazing Program is Training Students to Lead the Pro-Life Movement

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Washington:

Far too often, young people in the pro-life movement are referred to as “future pro-life leaders.” While that statement is undeniably true, it omits the current impact young people are having across the country. Young people are not just the future, we are the present!

Young people are stepping up to share the pro-life message at their high schools, college campuses and through social media. Young people constitute the overwhelming majority of the attendees at the annual March for Life. Young people are volunteering their time at local pregnancy centers and taking on key roles within local right-to-life chapters.

Equipping young leaders with the skills and knowledge to carry the pro-life movement into the future is critical for long-term success. For this reason, National Right to Life created an innovative program called the National Right to Life Academy.

The National Right to Life Academy empowers young pro-life leaders through a dynamic five-week summer course held at National Right to Life headquarters in Washington. Students are challenged not only in learning the arguments but also effective communication skills and grassroots organizing. Topics covered include abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research, healthcare, legislative strategy, history of the pro-life movement, medical ethics, development of the unborn and lobbying.

Through the National Right to Life Academy, students also have the opportunity to earn 3 college credits, which may be transferred to their university.

Since its inception in 2007, the National Right to Life Academy has graduated nearly 75 students. Many of these graduates are currently making a difference through state or local right-to-life groups, college pro-life clubs or pregnancy resource centers.

Devyn Nelson, a 2010 graduate and current Executive Director for North Dakota Right to Life, noted, “The National Right to Life Academy served me well in preparing me for this position. Not only did the Academy give me a thorough understanding of all the life issues, it helped me become comfortable and confident in speaking the truth about the life issues in public.”

Chelsea Shields, a 2011 graduate and the new Legislative/PAC Director for Wisconsin Right to Life noted,

“While lectures and practicum require a great deal of stamina and brainpower, the whole experience prepares Academy students to be highly effective advocates for life.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

January 12, 2015

Positivity: ‘He sacrificed his own life’ – Dad dies saving three children

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Whanau, New Zealand:

5:00 AM Sunday Jan 4, 2015

Whanau grieves for ‘real top Kiwi’ and good father who loved the water

A man who “sacrificed his own life” to save his two daughters and a 7-year-old niece from drowning is being hailed a hero by his whanau.

Kris Wichman, 36, was playing with young family members at the Patea River mouth in South Taranaki about 4pm on Friday when a ball was kicked across the river.

Wichman, an experienced surfer and fisherman, had swum out to retrieve it, but didn’t know his daughters Izzy, 11, and Ava, 10, along with niece, Kiri-Tepaninga Himiona, 7, had followed him.

The youngsters got into difficulties in the strong river current.

Wichman grabbed his niece, and managed to usher his daughters back to the safety of the shore.

As a nephew, Chanze, tried to help, the current swept Wichman and Kiri-Tepaninga out to sea. The strong currents sent them almost 2km south towards the Whenuakura River.

Kiri-Tepaninga managed to swim ashore, but an exhausted Wichman got into difficulty in the surf.

Volunteer firefighters found him a short time later on the shore.

“He’s effectively saved her life and sacrificed his own life,” said Senior Sergeant Thomas McIntyre, who co-ordinated the rescue.

Wichman was unresponsive and firefighters began cardio-pulmonary resuscitation but were unable to revive him.

Last night younger brother James Wichman, 32, was devastated.

“In our eyes, he died a hero. That is how we will remember him,” he said. “He was very experienced in the water. He loved it, he surfed it, he dived, played water polo … he lived in it. I’m just so sorry that it was the water that took him.”

Wichman’s tangi will be held at Patea Pariroa Pa before he is buried on Tuesday. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

January 11, 2015

Positivity: Birmingham Chick-fil-A owner’s generosity earns national spotlight – again

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Birmingham, Alabama:

January 08, 2015 at 4:20 PM, updated January 09, 2015 at 7:24 AM

The owner of a local Chick-fil-A restaurant is once again garnering national attention for his actions.

When Wednesday’s frigid temperatures sent what appeared to be a homeless man scurrying for warmth inside the Chick-fil-A at 4620 Highway 280, owner/operator Mark Meadows stepped up to the plate–much like he did during the 2014 “snowpocalypse.”

Andrea Stoker, who was enjoying a meal with her son at the restaurant about 3 p.m. Wednesday, shared what she witnessed through a Facebook post on the Chick-fil-A corporate page. At the time of this writing, Stoker’s account of what transpired has garnered nearly 100,000 Facebook “likes.” Chick-fil-A has since shared the image and message as well.

“My son and I were at the location on Highway 280 in Birmingham, AL,” wrote Stoker, “when a man came in to escape the 35 degree temps and strong winds with all of his earthly possessions strapped to his back.”

Rather than ask him to leave, Stoker went on, Meadows walked up to the man and had a conversation.

In an interview with AL.com today, Meadows shared what occurred next.

“Sometimes,” said Meadows, “we have individuals walk in the store that it’s obvious need some help. Yesterday at around 3:30 p.m. a gentleman walked in–I don’t know if he is homeless or not–but he walked up to me and asked if there was anything he could do to earn a little food.”

Meadows said he answered with a question of his own.

“I asked him if he had a pair of gloves,” said Meadows, “because he kept rubbing his hands together.”

According to Stoker’s account, Meadows not only arranged to feed the man, but also provided him with a little bit of extra comfort.

“Most businesses would force him out,” wrote Stoker, “but I watched as the manager walked up to him and asked if he could do anything for him. Before the man could even answer, the manager asked if he had a pair of gloves and walked to the table at which he’d been sitting and picked up his own. As he handed the man his gloves, he asked another employee to get him something to eat.”

Meadows is the same owner/operator who in January of last year helped distribute hundreds of chicken sandwiches and thousands of chicken biscuits to stranded Highway 280 motorists when a freak snow and ice storm paralyzed much of Birmingham. …

Go here for the rest of the story, particularly the sampling of comments from Facebook users.

January 10, 2015

Positivity: Wappingers woman says firemen saved her life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Wappingers Falls, New York:

8:15 p.m. EST January 4, 2015

An elderly woman rescued from a smoke-filled apartment said she “wouldn’t have made it … if not for” firefighters who got her out of the home.

Christina Augoustatos, 64, who lives with her family in a third-floor apartment in the Wappingers Falls Owners Corporation complex, located on Route 9 in the village was home alone on Friday night when she noticed her apartment filling with smoke, due to a kitchen fire on the second floor of the complex.

“It was terrible … I was so scared,” said Augoustatos, who added that there was so much smoke in her home, she couldn’t see the walls.

The hallway outside Augoustatos’ apartment had also filled with smoke, so she went out to her balcony and called 911.

Firefighters from the Village of Wappingers Falls Fire Department and New Hamburg Fire District responded, and Village fire Chief Jason Enson and New Hamburg assistant Chief Brian Whitten “went up” to Augoustatos’ balcony to get her down, the chief said.

“Thank God … if not for the two guys, I wouldn’t have made it,” said, Augoustatos, who lives with her husband, daughter and four-year-old granddaughter. “There’s so much smoke in … the hallway, the stairs. We can’t even see the wall, it was black.”

Augoustatos said she was “so dizzy … I couldn’t stand up … I can’t even breathe. I got scared and panicked. They (Enson and Whitten) both helped me” use a breathing mask. …

Go here for the rest of the story.