#1062 One of the best peace songs ever

Wailin' Jennys

We were driving a mountain highway, on our way to a meeting, when a colleague popped a Wailin’ Jennys album into the car’s CD player and introduced me to One Voice from 40 Days. I loved the group’s sound from…


#1060 Interviews for a job with 24/7 responsibility and no time off


Photo clip from Cardstock video below

Cardstore created an ad for the world’s toughest job. They set up video interviews and laid out the requirements:

  • no breaks
  • on your feet most of the day and night
  • lunch only when the associate finishes eating
  • great interpersonal skills
  • background in finance, medicine, culinary arts
  • willingness to give constant attention to the associateincreased work load over holidays
  • happy disposition.

Then they revealed the job. Watch the faces of the interviewees.

Thanks for the link, Linda Manning.

This post first appeared on Hope Habit.


#1059 Older ladies rock! And so does Donnalou Stevens

Donnalou Stevens

Donnalou Stevens will make you cheer; photo from her Facebook page

If you’re feeling down, meet the irrepressible Donnalou Stevens. Her Older Ladies video will rocket your spirits right out of the doldrums. It is no wonder it has gone viral since it was posted on YouTube in early June.

As an artist she creates joy and magic with her colourful art. She says in her Kickstarter video below that when people kept telling her the lyrics of her songs wouldn’t leave their heads, she decided she was never going to write another negative song. Her vision for her next project, If I Were Enlightened, is no small potatoes. She says:

I see this campaign in and of itself as an art project, a big collaboration, worldwide, with whoever wants to be a part of it, like a community, a community that stands for kindness, generosity, magic and play and celebration. That’s really what I want to create.

The 55-year-old says she feels as if she just got her wings, and it’s time to fly. Her Kickstarter fundraiser passed its original goal with time to spare. That means more good times are coming, and we are all invited.

Yee haw! Donnalou Stevens gives me hope.

You can follow Donnalou Stevens on Facebook and Twitter.


#1058 Music finds the vibrant soul inside dementia patients


Music touches Henry’s soul; photo clip from video below

The elderly and infirm may look empty, but they are Alive Inside. That is the title of a film being released this month that will make you look at people with dementia and major cognitive and physical challenges with new eyes.

Dan Cohen is the visionary behind it. He is a social worker who volunteered in a nursing home to test his idea that music could transform life for aging resident. He began loading iPods with music carefully chosen for residents. Watch the video about how that worked for Henry, and you can see how brilliant his idea is.

The pilot project proved so successful Cohen formed Music & Memory, a non-profit “that brings personalized music into the lives of the elderly or inform through digital music technology, vastly improving quality of life.”

Dan Cohen is transforming the lives of people too often written off. He gives me hope.

You can follow Music & Memory on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

This post initially appeared on Hope Habit.


#1057 Play Station or smoke detectors? 9-year-old’s choice is inspiring

Hector Montoya

Grand Prairie Fire Department installing smoke detectors with Hector Montoya; photo from CBS video

Hector Montoya was saving his money for a Play Station 4. The 9-year-old video-game fan was edging closer to his goal when news of a deadly house fire broke his heart. Hearing the mother and daughter might have survived had they just had a smoke detector, he decided saving lives was a better use for the money he had saved.

Saying, “It hurts my heart,” Montoya responded to the deaths by contacting the Grand Prairie, Texas fire department and offering to buy smoke detectors with his money. They took him up on his offer and went one better, involving him in installing them in the homes of people most at risk.

The boy’s savings bought the first 100 smoke detectors. An online plea brought in more than $7000 for others. The local Walmart added another 500.

In fact, Walmart made sure Montoya’s original wish was granted. In a special celebration, they gave him not only a PS4 but also a flat-screen TV and some games besides.

They were not the only ones. A pair of siblings bought him a PS4 and drove 45 minutes each way to deliver it. They also gave him $150 to buy more smoke detectors.

Though Hector Montoya was thrilled with the new Play Station and seemed to enjoy the attention, he appeared even happier to be able to provide smoke detectors for elderly people and for families who reminded him of the mother and daughter who lost their lives.

With his values and priorities focused on helping his community, Hector Montoya is already making a difference. He gives me hope.


#1056 Skip the plastic; wrap mine in Abeego, please


Abeego in action; from the company’s Facebook page

A Victoria, British Columbia woman has invented a product with the potential to put an end to those rolls of plastic that offer convenience and pollution all in one rectangular box. Toni Desrosiers came up with the idea of Abeego by looking back in time. She discovered pre-plastic storage options had two characteristics in common. They were natural and breathable.

On her “Our Story” page, Desrosiers describes the ground rules she set for herself in developing her storage wrap:

  • All ingredients used will be completely natural.
  • No chemical alteration will be needed for the material to be effective.
  • Each selected ingredient will have been used for preservation at some stage in human history.
  • All ingredients have natural characteristics suitable for keeping food fresh.
  • All ingredients are already approved by the FDA for food contact.

The sheets and bags she developed are made from hemp and impregnated with beeswax, tree resin and jojoba oil. I’m not giving away any trade secrets here. It is all laid out on the Web site.

Those little balls of crinkled-up, indestructible plastic wrap will be around for a long time. Abeego, on the other hand, has a usable life of roughly a year. Wrap your cheese, bread, greens and other food items in it. Expect longer storage than plastic can provide.

Eat the contents. Use a little mild soap and cold water to clean your Abeego. Use again. Gently clean again. Use again. And then pop it into your compost heap and watch it gradually crumble into soil.

A lot of retailers carry Abeego now. Not one of them is in my foodie-paradise of a home town. That has got to change. In the meantime, I can buy them from the Web site.

Congratulations to Abeego for being a finalist in the Business Development Bank of Canada’s 2014 Young Entrepreneur Awards. The 2nd-place spot won the company $25,000 in consulting services.

This is the kind of innovative, creative solution to a practical challenge and an environmental ill that gives me hope.

You can follow Abeego on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube

Jenny Lee wrote a good article about Abeego for the Vancouver Sun.