The number of daily gun-related deaths is still staggering. But if you believe in rehabilitation, then here's a story that will restore your faith in turning that around.
Oftentimes, the journey to our true calling is winding and unexpected. Take Lainey Morse, who went from office manager to creator of the viral trend, Goat Yoga, thanks to her natural affinity for goats and throwing parties.
Back in 2015, Lainey bought a farm in Oregon and got her first goats who she named Ansel and Adams. "Once I got them, I was obsessed," says Lainey. "It was hard to get me off the farm to go do anything else."
Right away, she noticed what a calming presence they had. "Even the way they chew their cud is relaxing to be around because it's very methodical," she says. Lainey was going through a divorce and dealing with a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis at the time, but even when things got particularly hard, the goats provided relief.
"I found it impossible to be stressed or depressed when I was with them."
She started inviting friends up to the farm for what she called "Goat Happy Hour." Soon, the word spread about Lainey's delightful, stress-relieving furry friends. At one point, she auctioned off a child's birthday party at her farm, and the mom asked if they could do yoga with the goats. And lo, the idea for goat yoga was born.
A baby goat on a yoga student. Photo courtesy of Lainey Morse
Goat yoga went viral so much so that by fall of 2016, Lainey was able to quit her office manager job at a remodeling company to manage her burgeoning goat yoga business full-time. Now she has 10 locations nationwide.
Lainey handles the backend management for all of her locations, and loves that side of the business too, even though it's less goat-related. "I still have my own personal Goat Happy Hour every single day so I still get to spend a lot of time with my goats," says Lainey. "I get the best of both worlds."
Lainey with her goat Fabio. Photo courtesy of Lainey Morse
Since COVID-19 hit, her locations have had to close temporarily. She hopes her yoga locations will be able to resume classes in the spring when the vaccine is more widely available. "I think people will need goat yoga more than ever before, because everyone has been through so much stress in 2020," says Lainey.
Major life changes like Lainey's can come around for any number of reasons. Even if they seem out of left field to some, it doesn't mean they're not the right moves for you. The new FOX series "Call Me Kat", which premieres Sunday, January 3rd after NFL and will continue on Thursday nights beginning January 7th, exemplifies that. The show is centered around Kat, a 39-year old single woman played by Mayim Bialik, who quit her math professor job and spent her life's savings to pursue her dreams to open a Cat Café in Louisville, Kentucky.
We're not freaking out, you're freaking out (but in the BEST way!) 🤩#CallMeKat premieres Sunday, January 3 on @FOXTV after NFL. pic.twitter.com/XhylqSVeMB
— CallMeKat (@CallMeKatFOX) December 22, 2020
Jeff Harry started making similar moves when he was just 10-years-old, and kept making them throughout his life. After seeing the movie "Big,"Jeff knew he wanted to play with toys for a living, so he started writing toy companies asking for next steps. He finally got a response when he was a sophomore in high school — the company told him he needed to become a mechanical engineer first.
Ever since pro-Trump insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol last week, some people have tried to blame the attack on other groups—namely, Antifa and BLM.
A false Washington Times report—which spread like wildfire—claimed Antifa members had been identified at the riot by a facial recognition software company. As it turned out, the men identified by the software company were actually neo-Nazis, not Antifa, and the story was corrected. But not before Congressman Matt Gaetz cited the original, false story on the House floor. In fact, some people are still talking about the false story as fact. Despite being corrected, the damage has been done.
Now there's another story spreading like wildfire, which is also false. A man named John Sullivan was arrested for taking part in the Capitol riot, and he is being paraded as the poster boy for BLM involvement in planning and carrying out the insurrection. The New York Post, Fox News, Politico, and other outlets initially referred to him as a "left-wing activist" in their headlines.
Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.
But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.
Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.
In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.
I've never been a gardener. I love the idea, but my history of killing plants isn't terribly inspiring. However, this year is different. I am doggedly determined to grow all the things because I will not allow 2020 to defeat me.
Is there a better symbol of hope than a garden? Planting a seed means you believe the future is imminent. Watching a sprout emerge from the soil and grow into a flourishing plant means life goes on. In addition, reaping the fruits and veggies of your efforts and giving thanks for the bounty that nature provides is perhaps the most basic, fundamental human act I can think of.
An unusual story out of England shows just how interconnected the world is in 2020.
On January 2, 17-year-old Aidan Jackson of Widnes, England, just outside of Liverpool, was chatting and playing an online game with his friend, Dia Lathora, from Texas. Aidan was alone in his bedroom upstairs, while his parents were on the first floor watching television.
Aidan is a student studying graphics and photography with a recent history of seizures. At around 9 pm that night, Aidan began making sounds that didn't sound right to Dia.
"I just put my headset back on and I heard what I could only describe as a seizure, so obviously I started to get worried and immediately started asking what was going on and if he was OK," Dia told the Liverpool Echo.