She almost gave up before her triathlon, but strangers helped her find strength.

At one point or another, many of us have probably flirted with the idea of making big, sweeping changes to our lives.

Maybe we'll learn a new language. Perhaps we'll change careers or finally learn how to play an instrument. These grand ideas come to us without warning, but most are swept aside or forgotten about after some real talk or a good night's sleep.

But sometimes, on rare occasions, we take the risk. And truly amazing things can happen.


Teej knows all about this. After a health scare, she decided she wanted to take better care of herself. For most of us, that might mean taking a few more walks or switching to decaf in the afternoons. But Teej went bigger, much bigger and decided to sign up for a triathlon.

Hours of swimming, biking, and running in a highly competitive environment? That's one way to jump-start a fitness routine. She spent the next year training for her big race.

Preparing for your first competition is daunting for any triathlon novice, but Teej had an even bigger hurdle to climb.

"I don't know how to run, bike, or swim," she says. "So I had to kind of teach myself how to do these things."

But she surprised herself, toughed it out, and made it to the starting line — only to discover her biggest competition wasn't the racers lined up beside her, it was the little voice in her head that said she wasn't an athlete at all.

Listen to Teej tell the story of her first triathlon and the boost of confidence and new friends she gained along the way.

And give a little more consideration to your next big, sweeping, grand idea. It may just change your life.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

via USO

Army Capt. Justin Meredith used the Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program to read to his son and family while deployed in the Middle East.

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One of the biggest challenges deployed service members face is the feeling of being separated from their families, especially when they have children. It's also very stressful for children to be away from parents who are deployed for long periods of time.

For the past four years, the USO has brought deployed service members and their families closer through a wonderful program that allows them to read together. The Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program gives deployed service members the ability to choose a book, read it on camera, then send both the recording and book to their child.

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