Quite Something

Posts Tagged ‘making a difference’

Quote of the Day

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

My favorite news stories are the ones in the “Making a Difference” segment on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. This week, Chelsea Clinton joined the staff. Apparently Brian’s wife is the one who gave him the idea of taking five minutes out of the half hour show most nights to highlight a positive story.

Every one of us knows people like the ones in those segments, everyday folks who are doing extraordinary things. Most of them are quietly making a difference in their families and their communities without getting any notice at all. Whether their efforts are put forth at work, at a nonprofit, or through their own initiative, each of them is passionate about his or her mission.

In yesterday’s post I promised to launch my own Good News channel of sorts, so here goes. I’m going to introduce you to some of the people in my life who I feel are “quite something,” each in his or her own way.

First up is one of my longtime, true-blue friends, Sue Ivy. Sue and I share many interests, chief among them, personal growth. I hired Sue back in 1996 when I was working in human resources for a software company. In her first day on the job, she told me that one of her hobbies was collecting quotes and sending out a Quote of the Day via email to her friends. She asked if I’d like to be added to her list. I agreed, and I’ve been receiving them ever since.

Rather than selecting the inspirational quotes randomly, Sue takes the time to hand pick them to correspond with holidays and other important world events. She also tailors them to the happenings of her personal friends, whether they are struggling or celebrating, and by doing so has discovered an interesting phenomenon.

Often, when she sends out a quote in support of one friend, several others will respond and say, “I know that quote was meant for me—it truly spoke to what I’m going through right now. Thank you.” Yet another confirmation that we are more alike than we are different, and our struggles often parallel those of others.

Day after day, year after year, Sue continues to send out her quotes. It’s her gift to her friends, and their friends, as each person encourages another to sign up for the quotes.

More recently, Sue has taken up nature photography and digital art. She now attaches kaleidoscopes, and the photos from which they are derived, to her quote emails. You can see Sue’s work on her photo blog at http://the-enchanted-forrest.blogspot.com/.

Her hobby has expanded to include products with her designs on them, available on http://www.cafepress.com/enchantedcorgi, and books and calendars at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/ivysue1.

Sue’s collection of quotes is now nearing six thousand. I often print them and post them around my office for inspiration as I write.

Thanks, Sue, for making a difference by sharing classic words of wisdom with your friends.

The Good News channel

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

My daughter, who will be 23 in February, frequently says that she hates the evening news and the 24 hour news channels because the stories are always so negative. She asks why there isn’t a “good news channel.” As the traditional news, particularly the economic news, gets worse and worse, I keep thinking about my daughter’s question.

So, in an effort to follow Ghandi’s advice to “be the change I want to see in the world,” I’ve decided to launch my own good news channel of sorts. It occurs to me that, all around me, I see people doing extraordinary things in an effort to make a difference in the world, or at least to the people around them. And I know that these efforts are being repeated, day after day, all over the world. It’s just that the shocking stories grab the headlines, and we’re all guilty of head-turning when we see the “Breaking News” banner on the screen, knowing full well it will not be positive.

None of the people I’m about to introduce to you consider their good works heroic or extraordinary. Most just started out wanting to help, to give back in some way, and somewhere along the way they became passionate about their causes. They’re humble, grateful people whose stories are inspiring to me and, I hope, to you. When you read about their efforts, you may feel compelled to contribute. Or you might feel that you’re not doing enough, compared to them. But my purpose is not to solicit on their behalf or to shame you. We all contribute something, in our own way, and on our own time, and most of us do more than we realize. My aim is simply to shine a light on some positive stories, to try to balance our negative worldview, which is sadly skewed because of our overexposure to one side of the story.

I thought this holiday season would be a good time to expose the warmth and compassion of some ordinary people I know who consistently act out of love for others. The good news starts tomorrow. Join me.