Friday, November 30, 2018

It's All About Perspective

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Today I would like to share with you the story of Brother Orange.

But before we get to the story, let me ask you some questions: how would you react if your iPhone or other costly device were stolen? 

Would you panic? 

Get angry? 

Feel violated?

Or would you embark on an adventure to the other side of the world and make a new friend for life?

Wait ... WHAT did I just say? 

I happened upon the CRAZIEST story on YouTube the other day, and it got me thinking about how sometimes a bad thing can turn into a good thing, and what we get out of it is all about how we perceive it. Additionally, how we choose to respond (not react) can make all the difference in the world. And finally, that human beings are capable of connecting and forming strong bonds regardless of background, culture, or language barriers...which then got me to thinking: why don't we ALL do that, all the time? 

Anyway, here's the story:

This guy, Matt Stopera, was out at a bar with some friends one night, and he had his iPhone on the table in front of him. After a few drinks, he'd forgotten about it sitting there, and next thing he was GONE! 

He went to buy a new iPhone the next day, and thought nothing more about it. Quite some time later, Matt noticed some photos being uploaded to his iCloud account. The photos were all of this one guy who appeared to be in China, posing in front of an orange tree.

Matt did a bit of digging, and then, because he's a writer for Buzzfeed, he started writing about it. And then Twitter exploded with people trying to find the guy who had Matt's phone. It went absolutely viral!

Here, just watch Matt tell the story in his own words:

(Disclaimer: parents, use discretion; there is bleeped-out language in the video.) 

This story was so heartwarming! Here are two guys from totally opposite ends of the planet: different life stories, different cultures, different languages...and yet, they formed a strong bond, like that of brothers, and it all came to pass because something bad had happened to one of them, but he embraced it instead of resisting it.

Imagine if we all just saw the world not as who has wronged us, or why someone's political opinion is wrong, or how someone's religion isn't right. Imagine if we just stopped painting people with broad strokes.

What if we all just CONNECTED, human to human, soul to soul, and took the time to see the beauty in the other person, no matter a language barrier, or a different political or religious belief, or any of that other stuff that really just doesn't matter?

Can we really shift our perspective?

These guys just proved it's possible. Instead of being mad that his cell phone was stolen and assigning blame to Brother Orange, Matt Stopera kept an open mind and made a new friend for life.

It's a beautiful story, in my opinion, and I hope you'll take something away from it. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it, too, so drop me a comment below and let's start a dialogue!

~ Shift your perspective. ~
~ Just BE love.  ~
~ The rest doesn't matter. ~

 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

More sources: Buzzfeed / Buzzfeed / Huffington Post / Ellen Show

Friday, November 23, 2018

Fortune Cookie Friday: Bad Checks

This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See Disclosures

Happy Friday, and Happy Day After Thanksgiving if you're in the US! Just how stuffed did we all get yesterday? I hope your holiday, if you celebrated, was nice! If you're going shopping today, have fun and stay safe! 

Now on to today's fortune cookie:

Nothing in the known universe travels faster than a bad check.
First of all, I love that I had a black ceramic spoon rest with sparkles in it that I could use as the backdrop for this fortune—looks like a universe a little bit, doesn't it? :)

Anyway—you can take this one literally, but I'd rather take it figuratively:

What bad checks are you writing in your life? 

I don't mean money, but let's use that as the jumping off point for a better understanding of our life practices. 

What is writing a bad check? It's paying for something with money you don't have, right? So let's take that one step further:

Are you spending energy you don't have on things that don't necessarily serve you? Are you burning the candle at both ends and running out of wick? Are you so busy that you don't know which way is up or who you even are, any more? Maybe you're a people pleaser who just can't say "no" to people, even though it's killing you to keep saying "yes," or maybe you're just lost because you're so busy you don't even stop to think about what you want.

To exacerbate these things, the holidays are upon us now, and it can be a really crazy time of year. Even the most zen person out there can feel the stress.

Remember to take time for yourself. There is no such thing as overdraft protection on our energy and well-being, so let those energetic reserves build up again. Additionally, if certain things no longer serve you in your life, it's okay to let them go. Whether it's bad habits, toxic people, or one too many hobbies, you have the power to make choices to spend your time, energy, and love on people, practices and things that you truly want to engage with.

It is possible to stop writing bad checks that deplete your well-being. Things don't change overnight, but with mindful practice in choosing who and what we spend our energy on, we can stop writing those bad checks and start balancing our account again. 

Anyway, just something to think about. As always, I want to know what YOU think about this fortune! Leave me a comment below! And if you want to have your fortune cookie featured, send me a clear photo of it through the Facebook page.

Have a great weekend! 💛🐝

 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

Want to do some holiday shopping? If Amazon is a part of your holiday shopping, using my link will help this site at no extra cost to you! Thank you for your continued support of positively b.e.e., and have a great holiday season!

Friday, November 16, 2018


This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See Disclosures

Hello everyone! I can't believe it is already mid-November. I hope your autumn has been going well. 

Photo by Pro Church Media on Unsplash

If you live in the USA, then you know what next week is: THANKSGIVING! 🦃🍂🍁

For those of you not from the US (though some other countries do have similar holidays), Thanksgiving is a holiday that garners a lot of attention, both positive and negative, and for a lot of reasons that I won't break down, here. The basic idea behind the day, though, is to spend time with family, celebrate with a huge feast, and give thanks for what we have. 

You all know by now that we here at positively b.e.e. believe in being thankful EVERY day, but still, it seems appropriate to make the post prior to Thanksgiving one about thankfulness. Here are some things I am thankful for, lately:

  • My editing and writing consulting work. It makes me so happy to help people with their writing, whether academic, fiction, business, or nonfiction.
  • My wonderful family, especially my parents and husband. I seriously won the people lottery with these folks in my life.
  • The fantastic birthday I just had. I got so many nice wishes, they really made my week!
  • My tribe, both IRL and virtual. I love meeting with like minds and souls who really get the work I want to do in the world. I am so blessed to have such a supportive and loving extensive network of friends and colleagues.
  • Speaking of...this brings me to all of you. Yep, you're on the list! You are a part of my tribe, and I am truly thankful for you, too. Writing positively b.e.e. and hearing how it makes a difference in your lives completes a beautiful cycle of trust, love, and gratitude, every single week.

LEAVE ME A COMMENT or drop me a line and let me know: What are you thankful for lately? Let's create a gratitude movement!

Let me wrap this up by sharing this song with you that I heard recently: Kelly Clarkson's "Thankful." Enjoy! And if you're in the USA, have a wonderful holiday next week! 💛🐝

 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

Friday, November 9, 2018

Fortune Cookie Friday: Leave a Trail

This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See Disclosures

Hi everyone!

Before I get to today's fortune, I wanted to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who reached out regarding the Tree of Life shootings here in Pittsburgh. Some of you simply offered prayers and comfort, and others told me how what I wrote about it affected you. I'm here to help in any way I can, but I'm glad I'm not operating in a vacuum. Your words were as much a comfort to me as mine may have been to you. Thank you for your support and for sharing your thoughts. <3

Okay, it's time for Fortune Cookie Friday! 

Are you commencing a new project soon? Having a change of career? Or thinking about some kind of change?

This one may be for you:

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go where there is no path...and leave a trail.

This one is so straightforward, it surprises me. Usually, I see at least 2-3 different ways to read a fortune cookie, but this one just does what it says on the tin! Therefore, I'm putting it here as a source of inspiration to you. 

Don't be afraid to go for your goals, okay? Pave your own way if you have to. If you believe in it, it's worth doing! No one will do it for you, but there are people who believe in you and will help you along the way, so have faith in yourself and just start. There's no time like the present!

If you want me to feature your fortune cookie, send me a clear photograph of the fortune through the Facebook page. Have a great week!

 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

Friday, November 2, 2018

When Tragedy Strikes

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Last weekend was very rough here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

On Saturday morning, October 27th in Squirrel Hill, a beautiful, diverse neighborhood in the east end of Pittsburgh, one man decided to take several guns into a place of worship and kill innocents as they attended services at the Tree of Life synagogue.

By the time he was done, he had killed 11 people, injured 6 others (including 4 police officers), and had been injured, himself. He has now been charged on 44 counts, including hate crime charges.

Hate = Fear. It is caused by fear, and it causes fear.

And it's stupid.

11 beautiful souls: taken.

All because of fear.

I still can't wrap my mind around this! It has hit close to home in ways I am only beginning to process. I used to live in Squirrel Hill, and now live just adjacent, about a mile or two away from the synagogue where this happened. I pass by Tree of Life several times per week at a minimum. I recognize the faces of some of the victims as people I have seen out and about in the community: walking on Forbes or Murray Avenues, shopping at Giant Eagle, or patronizing the library. I see the anguish of many, many friends as they process that people they knew and loved are dead.

Pittsburgh is kind of a small town, after all.

But this blog is about disrupting negativity, right? And all week I've thought, "God, how can I even attempt to disrupt this level of evil? Can anyone?"

I guess I can try to help in in my own small way by showing you the Squirrel Hill I have come to know and love over the last 10 years, by collating stories of people coming together, or by showing you some pieces on what the neighborhood is like. I can also share some resources to help survivors and those who are traumatized. And finally, I can pray and hold space for others.

There's a lot here. Feel free to take in just what you need to take in at this time. Or take it all in. Bookmark it and refer back if you need to. Let's begin:

In typical Pittsburgh tradition, Pittsburghers are REFUSING to take this lying down. They are NOT going to give in to fear and hate, instead rushing to take care of each other as we all recover from this tragedy. This image immediately went viral:

source: Facebook

Pittsburghers have come together in several vigils to remember the fallen, pray for the community, and offer support and fellowship to each other. A vigil was held in Squirrel Hill at the heart of the neighborhood, Forbes and Murray Avenues, on Saturday night, October 27th. Soldiers and Sailors Hall was packed and spilling out onto surrounding streets during a vigil on Sunday, October 28th. And on Nextdoor, neighbors across the community chose to leave their porch lights on or candles lit in their windows throughout the night so that darkness would never prevail.

Did you know that Squirrel Hill IS Mr. Roger's neighborhood? Fred Rogers ("Mr. Rogers") used to share a story of his mother telling him that when things are scary, he should look for the helpers. Many of us grew up with Mr. Rogers and the safety, security, friendship and wisdom he offered to us all for decades. I have always taken this story to heart whenever I've been scared, too. The immediate law enforcement and emergency services responses here in Squirrel Hill were amazing. God bless everyone who came out from not only the city's forces but from surrounding communities to assist with everything from capturing the suspect, triaging the injured, to supporting the community and beyond. Additionally, the Red Cross is asking for blood donations, and the response has been overwhelming. If you can, please consider donating blood today. (You can plug in your zip code and find out where to donate.) A local acupuncture business offered free community acupuncture to help those who are traumatized, and therapy dogs have been onsite at the Jewish Federation. I'm sure there are so many other resources that I am not aware of, so if you know of them, please put them in the comments for others to see!

The Muslim community is supporting the Jewish community by fundraising for survivors. The Muslims Unite for Pittsburgh Synagogue campaign has gone utterly viral and they've blown past several fundraising goals already. As they say:

"We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action. ... Through this campaign, we hope to send a united message from the Jewish and Muslim communities that there is no place for this type of hate and violence in America. We pray that this restores a sense of security and peace to the Jewish-American community who has undoubtedly been shaken by this event."

Additionally, the Pittsburgh Islamic Center has offered to protect their Jewish neighbors while they pray. Watch leader Wasi Mohammed ask their Jewish neighbors what they need, offering food, money, protection...whatever the community needs.

If you're aware of other legit fundraising campaigns to assist victims and their families, please comment below and share! I can't keep up with all of it. Just goes to show you how people are ready and willing to come together.

The Trib has an article about the things they love about Squirrel Hill. When we moved to Squirrel Hill back in 2008, my husband and I deliberately chose the neighborhood for many reasons. This article barely hints at the wonderful community that exists at Forbes and Murray Avenues, but come and take a glimpse into why we love living in this area so much. Farmers' markets, the Squirrel Hill night market, restaurants, mom and pop shops, a movie theatre, and a beloved library...there is so much to recommend it, and one man's evil actions will not tarnish it.

I'm reading a book on Winston Churchill that I got from the library that is at the heart of the Squirrel Hill neighborhood, so of course, this quote of his popped into my head: 

"Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy." ~Winston Churchill

I've always liked that quote when it feels like we're under attack. It got me through 9/11, and it'll get me through this, too. I simply will not bow to terror tactics. I'm including it here in case it gives you strength.

And on another note, prayer is a powerful thing.  The Jewish community has been adhering to customs in a difficult situation, which include sitting shiva and saying the Kaddish. As someone who is not Jewish, I have sought to understand Jewish customs even moreso this week as I talk with neighbors. If you are not Jewish, you can still pray: for the dead, for the community, for unity, for an end to hate, and for peace. A friend of mine prayed with a group of us just a few hours after the attack. She said the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, and it provided much peace to me after a day of crying as I watched the news. While I was raised with this prayer as a Catholic, the sentiments apply to the entire world, I think, and you don't need to be Catholic to say it. I'll be saying it daily from here on out. Perhaps it'll help you, too:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


I hope you are taking good care of yourselves after this. Don't be afraid to talk to someone. There are many resources available, and I'm listing some, below:

UPMC resource on coping with grief and loss.

Jewish Family and Community Services offers counseling and other services. They serve all people "without regard to race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, place of birth, sex, sexual orientation, familial status, age, handicap or disability."

Councilman Corey O'Connor shared SAMHSA's resources on coping with traumatic loss.

There is so much more, I'm sure, that I am missing, but again, I couldn't keep up with all of the information flying around. I again invite you to share more resources in the comments if you're aware of them. 

In the end, this terrible event will not define the residents of Squirrel Hill and Pittsburgh, except as loving, neighborly people who come together, no matter their differences or backgrounds, to help each other. For me, that is the takeaway that will disrupt the hate we saw last weekend.

Love will always conquer hate. Always.

Do everything with love. 💛🐝

 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

Sources: Fred Rogers Productions / / CNN / The Washington Post / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / SAMHSA / Jewish Family & Community Services / UPMC / Pittsburgh Tribune-Review / USAToday / Facebook / Nextdoor / / The Hill / Councilman Corey O'Connor Facebook Page

Reflections on 2020

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See  Disclosures  for more info.  It’s finally...