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7-Year-Old Tells The World in Viral Video What It’s Like to Have Down Syndrome

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Many people become active during this time of year raising awareness about the disorder, which is a genetic one that results when an individual is born with a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.

You can learn more about Down syndrome here.

Jennifer Sanchez, the adoptive mother of Sofia, 7, and Joaquin, 8, both of whom have Down syndrome, becomes active during this month, too. She tries to reach out to people in hopes she could raise awareness.

Eleven days ago she posted a video to Facebook, in which she’s heard having a brief Q & A session with Sofia about the genetic disorder. In less than two weeks, the video has racked up more than 6 million views.

The Sanchez Family (Image courtesy of Sofia-Sanchez.com)

She’s heard asking Sofia if Down syndrome is scary, to which the adorable girl replies, “No, it’s not scary! It’s exciting. I get to go to Disneyland.”

Well, thank you for the information, Sofia. We would like to applaud you for being a beautiful inspiration for millions of people worldwide.

You can watch the short video below:

This Penguin Travels Thousands of Miles Every Year to Reunite With His Rescuer

Here’s a story that will warm your heart.

Affection, love, and bonding with humans by animals have often been observed within the animal kingdom by scientists, so it’s really nothing new. However, in the case of Dindim the penguin, a certain characteristic was also observed which loaned it a certain uniqueness: gratitude. The penguin would return every year in June to its rescuer and spend time with him only to leave again in February—a recurring annual event.

Marine Biologist Joao Paulo Krajewski, who interviewed the rescuer for Globo TV later, said, “I have never seen anything like this before.”

The special relationship started in 2011 when Joao Pereira de Souza, 71, who lives in a small island in Brazil found the small penguin, which he soon called Dindim, stranded on a beach in Rio de Janeiro and all covered in oil. The penguin was undernourished and on the brink of death. Pereira de Souza took it under his care and spent a week cleaning it. During this time, he fed it a diet of fish.

Once he finished cleaning it, and after it had grown a new coat of feathers, Pereira de Souza went to the ocean to set the penguin free so it could return to the wild.

A few months later, he was very surprised to see it back on the island where it recognised him immediately and went back home with him.

The pengiun stayed there with him for 11 months. It wouldn’t let anyone get close to it without pecking them, except for its rescuer.

And so a special bond between them developed. When it left again for the 2nd time, everyone told Pereira de Souza that the penguin would not be back, but time and time again, the penguin proved them wrong.

“Everyone said he wouldn’t return but he has been coming back to visit me for the past four years. He arrives in June and leaves to go home in February and every year he becomes more affectionate as he appears even happier to see me

“I love the penguin like it’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me.”

Here are two short video clips, both less than 5 minutes in length, showing you their special relationship in more details.

American Soldier’s Facebook Post is Going Viral About His Treatment in Iraq by Muslims

Matt Cousins is an American soldier, a non-Muslim American soldier to be precise, and this is what he had to say about current headlines making rounds around the world in regards to Muslims:

These are my Muslim friends I met in Iraq. They always treated me with love (and still do). They did not try to convert me to Islam and they did not hate me for not converting. They never tried to kill me because I am American. They invited me to dinner and gave me gifts (that included a Quran). I say this to hopefully stop some stereotypes. It’s like saying all Police Officers are corrupt, all Priests are child molesters, and all Teachers sleep with their students. Get to know the person!!! Rant is over, carry on.

matt cousins

Matt made this post on his personal wall, not a page. It was, as he puts it, a “rant” to his friends. It was made on 10th December, and as of this writing, his post has been shared over by the thousands. In fact, wait, don’t take my word for it. Why don’t you check it out yourself? Here is the direct link to his Facebook post.

And while you’re at it, why don’t you go into his profile. Does he look like a fake account? Someone with an agenda? No. I think I can tell you who he is without even knowing him: He’s a real American. Note I didn’t say a Republican or a Democrat? Yup. That’s because true Americans do not come with “labels”. True Americans know that both parties have their shortcomings and that at the end of the day, we’re all being played for fools. True Americans know that just about every side has blood on their hands and that there’s good and bad people from all walks of life. Plus, this article isn’t meant to carry a ‘political’ tone; it is about humanity… Salt of the Earth People, people who do their part in trying to make this world just a little bit better, regardless of their faith, beliefs, ideologies or political inclinations, so let’s focus on that instead of trying to dissect what political side Matt Cousins is from.

Someone like Matt Cousins is a real American Patriot and a hero. Not because he’s defending Islam in this post, no; nor is he a hero because his post is posing the basic argument using logic that if you judge an entire group of people based on the acts of individuals, you might as well use that same philosophy for all other groups as otherwise you’d be contradicting yourself and cherry-picking, no; Matt Cousins is simply a hero because he’s trying to stop hatred from spilling over in a world that’s already too dark; he’s spreading love instead of hate; he’s spreading knowledge instead of blind ignorance; he’s using common sense instead of being a conformist whose brain has been fed so much crap by mainstream media with one-sided agendas. He is a hero because his Americanism shines forth without any bias or prejudice or finger-pointing.

As a human being and regardless of whether I’m an Atheist or not, whether I’m a Christian or not, whether I’m a Jew or not, whether I’m a Muslim or not, whether I’m a Democrat or a Republican, people like Matt Cousins demand out of me the utmost admiration and respect, because anyone who spreads love instead of hate is a winner; anyone who tries to be ‘neutral’ and not take sides is a winner; anyone who tries to make peace instead of promote war is a winner; anyone who resorts to common-sense and logic to add 1 and 1 together and think for themselves instead of being told what to think is a winner.

So in terms of common sense, who would you rather believe… someone who has had ‘hands-on’ experience with Muslims in a region that’s supposedly hostile and full of Islamic terrorists, or some ‘reporter’ on mainstream TV sitting behind a desk in North America?

Let that sink in, and let his message sink in.

Mom-of-Three Strips Down to Underwear in Public to Promote Self-Acceptance

Her name is Amy Pence-Brown. And her message is clear: she wants you to accept yourself and have a stand for self-love no matter what you look like. Low self-esteem simply should not — must not — have a place in your life. “We can’t truly love one another until we fully love ourselves.”

The 39-year-old mother of three reigned supreme on the Internet Highway this week when she posted a video depicting her down to nothing but black bikini in public—in a very busy marketplace—as a very daring social experiment. The video went viral.

It all started when Amy found inspiration in a similar experiment conducted by a girl who was a recovering eating disorder sufferer that stood on the streets of London in her underwear and encouraged strangers to draw hearts on her body in support of self-acceptance.

Amy wanted to know how that same sort of experiment would go if it was carried out by someone of a ‘different frame-size’ so to speak and from a different age group.  In her words: “How would it be received if the woman had been less socially acceptable in appearance, like, fat? And, say, a mom who’s nearly 40-years-old? And in a place that was more conservative and less progressive than London like, say, Boise, Idaho?

Image Courtesy Melanie Flitton Folwell: http://www.melaniefolwell.com/
Image Courtesy Melanie Flitton Folwell

So she went out to find out. “I decided to wear a black bikini instead of a bra and undies (conservative Boise) and changed the text on my sign to read something a little different and pertinent to me. I decided to tell no one except the Rad Fat Collective that this was happening, as the idea of leaving the experience organic and up to chance, rather than fill the audience with known body positive activists and friends, was more appealing.”

She adds, “You can see the  cellulite (on strong legs that have carried me for four decades), a wonky bikini top with sagging breasts (that nourished three babies), stretch marks (that represent my transition from a chubby adolescent to a curvy teenager to a woman who’s been pregnant four times)” She concludes, “The most important things about this performance, though, are the ones you can’t see. The personal stories of struggle. The dad who stood in front of me with his two young sons and knelt down to tell them “this is what a beautiful woman looks like. “”

You can read her entire story here, sourced directly from her blog.

Here is the short video of  the performance.

 

10 Habits You Need To Break For a Happier Life

Most of us tend to complicate our lives with habits that serve no purpose other than to ruin our relationships with loved ones and other people, or just make life in general more miserable. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of self-reflection to break free from these habits and live a much happier life.

Here are some random ones:

1. Living in constant fear of things going wrong.

Nothing puts it better than Elbert Hubbard’s quote: “The greatest mistake you can make in life is continually fearing that you’ll make one.” Mistakes are not inherently evil; sometimes they lead us to growth and make us stronger. Do not fear making mistakes so much to the point that you are paralyzed and do nothing. How can you achieve anything in life if you take no action and stay stuck in the same place? Trial and error are part of success, so ditch the habit of excessive worrying about things going wrong and start focusing instead on how you can make them go right. Besides, worrying is a huge waste of time–what’s bound to happen is bound to happen, so what purpose does worrying serve? None. All it does is rob us of time–time that we could utilize to better ourselves and achieve our goals and live life fuller.

2. Overthinking and analyzing the future.

Planning ahead for the future is always wise and definitely a sure sign of maturity. However, overdoing it is recipe for losing focus in life. Guess what? The present moment is the only life anyone of us is assured at any given moment. The past is gone, and the future is only a promise. We have only the present. So constantly worrying, thinking years ahead, day-in-day-out, letting the what-ifs and what-if-nots corrode your mind like acid only distracts you from living your present moment to the fullest. For all you know, the future that you are so worried about may or may not happen, so embrace the Now. Live in the Now. Don’t let your mind enslave you and make you its prisoner by living in a constant state of overthinking ahead. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow, and let life carry you wherever it wants.

3. Beating yourself up.

Guilt is a thief of joy. It drains you of life and leaves you no room for growth. If you know you did something wrong, fix it if you can. If it cannot be fixed, well―as ugly as it may sound, the bottom line is: It’s okay. You tried. It is all about the intentions. You did the best you could, and that is what matters. Move on. If there’s someone you once said a mean word to, and the memory of that is now nibbling at your conscience, by all means call that person up, apologize, and make amends. If they forgive you, great. If not, guess what? Life. Goes. On. Move on with it. You have to move on. Don’t make guilt become so much of a focal point in life that you keep dwelling in it. Life is certainly about embracing change, making amends, taking responsibility for our actions, etc., etc., but one thing it definitely is not about is miring ourselves in a whirlpool of guilt. So stop beating yourself up over things that cannot be helped or changed. What happened has happened and the past is past—it is gone, and nothing you can do will change that—so just let it go. Just as you are supposed to be kind and forgiving to people, you are also supposed to be kind and forgiving to yourself!

4. Being obsessed with perfection.

This goes hand-in-hand with #3. When you make a mistake, yes, it is wise to go over it, analyze what you did wrong, how and why you did so, embrace the consequences with a sense of responsibility and own up to it. Take it as a learning experience and try again. However, with all that having been said, you also need to realize that constantly criticizing yourself for a mistake serves no purpose other than to deprive you of happiness and keep you locked up in a mental prison. You need to understand that no one is perfect. No one! People learn from their mistakes and better themselves. Making mistakes is how we grow and gain experience, not to mention that it is how we earn deep respect from others when we acknowledge that we were wrong. Making mistakes is part of progress. No one ever got it right from the first try.

5. Constantly wanting to be right or having the last say.

We are cognitive beings, so it is natural for us to sometimes struggle with accepting that we are wrong. For some people, though, they just can’t accept being wrong; they must always be right! Well, that mindset is a prime recipe for ending relationships, especially romantic ones. Trying to being right all the time leaves us perpetually stressed, and that causes both us and our significant others emotional pain. In general, would you rather be right or would you rather be kind? The next time you feel the urge to argue about how right you are and how wrong someone else is, remember Thema Davis’s quote: “Have the maturity to know that sometimes silence is more powerful than having the last word.” It’s not always about proving who is right and who is wrong, or who gets to have the last say, so let go of that damn ego! Utilize that time to do something constructive instead. Hug your kid. Kiss your spouse. Pat your pet. Read a book. Go for a swim. Paint a picture. Sing. Have fun, damn it. Who cares about who’s right or wrong? Just be!

6. The urge to pin blame.

Sometimes we have to accept the fact that no one is responsible for our mistakes but us; not every single thing that goes wrong in our lives is someone’s fault. Sometimes they’re just the direct consequences of decisions we made—no more, no less. So pipe down a bit on the blame factor, chill, take responsibility for what happened, accept that no one is perfect, chuck it in the fuck-it bucket, and move on. Shit happens; we learn, we grow, life goes on. Trying to find a reason to blame something on all the time is an expenditure of negative energy that serves no purpose other than to keep you unhappy and running in circles. Some situations cannot be helped. They are what they are, and the sooner you accept that you’re only human, the better off you are.

7. Complaining and criticizing all the time.

Complain less, appreciate more. Before you jump on the complaint bandwagon if something is not up to your standards or making you happy, stop and think about other areas in which you are happy. Focus on those. You have to accept the fact that life is about meeting in the middle, about compromise, about balance―and that goes for our thinking processes, too. We must not allow ourselves to be overtaken by cherry-picking negative thoughts all the time. Always consider the pros, too, when you want to probe the cons. Do not underestimate the power of positive-thinking. For example, if you have a very well-paying job but have the crappiest boss ever, you might feel inclined to pick on that and justify why you are unhappy at work; however, if you stop for a second and consider the fact that there are people who have good and kind bosses but lousy salaries, you would then see how it sort of balances itself out: good boss, bad pay vs. good pay, bad boss. That is what life is about—balance and compromise. No one has it all. Once you train yourself to start looking at two sides of the coin, as opposed to just one, you’ll sometimes come to realize that you’re way better off than you initially thought.

8. The desire to be in charge of everything constantly.

Listen, it’s quite normal for you to want to be in control of where your life is heading. After all, it is your journey and you are the driver, and that’s just how it should be. However, it does not hurt to realize that sometimes there is nothing wrong with being in the passenger’s seat. For a little while. Take a break; give yourself a little rest. You do not have to be in charge of every single damn thing in life. If someone is willing to help you, let them. If someone wants to lead, follow—provided that it is not a major life-decision that would impact you enormously should it go wrong. Be willing to embrace help sometimes if you get it; don’t let your ego and pride get in the way. Letting go just a tiny bit of wanting to be in control always can take you a long way in life.

9. The need to impress.

Impress whom? This one always causes me to wonder why people do that. Why should I want to impress anyone when society itself is an illusion? As the idiom goes: “one man’s food is another man’s poison.” Opinions, philosophies, tastes, hobbies, etc., change from one neighborhood to another. Do you understand that? That means what someone may not like about you, someone else may very well love you for. The world will always be full of naysayers and people who have something to complain about. You cannot appease everyone. That fact alone should make you realize that you’re under no obligation to do whatever you’re not comfortable with, or be who you aren’t, just to impress people. Just be you, and the right ones will come to you. The only area with which you should concern yourself is doing your best to treat people right, hurt no one, and live with a sense of compassion and integrity.

10. Placing labels

You cannot expect seven billion people to see things in the same exact way that you do. We are all different. Upbringing, life events, and beliefs―to name just a few―all shape and mold us into who we are. Just because someone sees things differently does not mean you should label them. They are who they are, and you are who you are. In certain regards, no one is necessarily right or wrong. It is a matter of perspectives. You do not have to agree with everything people think and do to like and respect them. Labeling serves no purpose other than leave us all quarreling and in constant conflict with each other. Once you adopt the mentality of live and let live, your life will be much more peaceful and drama-free.

 

Written by Ali B. Moe, founder of Enchanting Minds.

Eduardo Serio: The REAL Lion Trophy Hunter

Eddie Serio has a deep passion to hunt for wild cats. His trophy isn’t something he mounts on walls, though. His trophy is the deep satisfaction of spreading compassion, love and awareness. For Eddie, accomplishing those is his ultimate trophy, a reward he finds satisfying and something he has dedicated his life to.

He is founder of the Black Jaguar White Tiger foundation, a sanctuary that preserves wild cats by rescuing them from zoos, circuses, illegal breeders and even from people who adopt them as pets. Besides it being something that Eddie is extremely passionate and emphatic about, he also does it because, in his words, “I want the message to reach people around the world that animals aren’t possessions. You must not say, ‘I want that tiger, how much for it?.’ They are not cars, houses, or clothes. They are not materialistic things. They are living creatures like you, your mom, your son, your wife, etc.,  and they must not be put on the same par with money, avarice or power. And if we do not stand up for them, take care of and save them, who will? Our kids? By the time they have grown up, there will be no more lions and tigers left or animals running free. We have destroyed this planet and we must repair it.”

For Eddie, it all began a while back when his cousin who had a panther cub wanted to sell it to a pet store. He asked Eddie to accompany him on the business trip. The store owner informed them that the panther cub would be used to generate income by letting people pose with it for a picture.  Eddie and his cousin disagreed and returned, taking the cub back with them. Eddie spent hours begging his cousin to give him the cub to take care of it. In the end, his cousin agreed and gave Eddie the baby panther. And that’s how his love story with the cats and to rescue thousands and thousands of animals all began.

Eddie hopes that by being an ambassador for the cats more and more people would be inspired to treat the beautiful animals with the love and compassion and be the voice they deserve. His vision is to encourage people to become a voice for the animals, for he believes their rights are being taken away and they on their own cannot voice a complain. He currently runs several stages of recovery for the animals, and has dedicated over a 3,000 acres ranch which would be their final habitat.

According to him, the animals cannot be returned to the wild because: a) they were not born in their natural habitat, b) their natural habitat is decreasing daily due to deforestation, and c) he doesn’t want “stupid people” out there hunting and killing them and selling their parts for medicinal purposes or otherwise.

Here are some very short less-than-a-minute videos showing you Eddie’s love and interaction with the cats, with the last one below being his own story.

If this story resonates with you, kindly share it so Eddie’s message would reach out to more people, or leave a comment below to help this post propagate to other readers.

To learn more about Eddie and his projects, you can visit his site here.

This article was written by Ali B. Moe, founder of EnchantingMinds.

13-Year-Old Hacks His Education To Be Happy and Healthy

His mother cried when she took him out of the traditional education system at the age of 9 to be home-schooled, says 13-year-old Logan LaPlante, who wants to be happy and healthy when he grows up.

And here he is four years later, giving us a lecture that will leave “some” college graduates I personally know dumbfounded with their jaws dropping. Apparently, it seems his mom’s schooling abilities didn’t turn out to be so bad after all. Not only is Logan eloquent, confident, charismatic and touches on very important key-points that are complex beyond his years, he also turned out to be a very adaptive, and a pretty straight-forward-thinking person who will most likely make intelligent decisions in his life. You can already sense his great character, advanced self-awareness and free spirit.

So for all those out there who think home-schooling is such a very bad idea and it kills intelligence and creativity, perhaps this would make you rethink. Am I saying that traditional education is bad? Not at all. I simply am saying that home-schooling has had such a very bad rep and it’s time people reconsidered the wrong image they have of it and, if anything, this is just proof that it does work out for some people.