The power of a physical transformation is that it allows others to see you in a completely different way.

From this:


GIFs via RobBlissCreative.

to this:


It sure helped homeless veteran Jim Wolf see himself in a brand-new light.

And it helped others see him not as he once was — a former soldier who had struggled for decades with alcoholism, drug abuse, and homelessness — but as a man full of potential, worthy of love, in need of help.

Like Jim, there are almost 50,000 homeless veterans in America. Reducing that number has been tough.

Superficial changes or quick fixes don't do a good job at helping. A lack of resources and opportunities don't help either — but that's the situation too many of our veterans are facing.

The beginning of a solution is in veteran hotlines.

One hotline exists for homeless or at-risk vets: (877) 4AID-VET.

Image (modified) via Alex/Flickr.

And another, the Veterans Crisis Line, is a hotline where veterans in need can call and always get a live person who's ready to help: (800) 273-8255.

Image (modified) via Alex/Flickr.

In 2012, President Obama doubled the staff of the Veterans Crisis Line in response to the news that in 2012, more active-duty and demobilized U.S. military died of suicide than U.S. soldiers who died in Afghanistan. Just from 2007 to 2012, the Veterans Crisis Line had 30,000 successful interventions with veterans.

Hotlines are a small but necessary step toward providing genuine help to our veterans.

This time-lapse video shows the power of finding someone who cares — someone who will lift you up when you're down.

Jim found that.

Every veteran deserves the same chance — the chance to be seen as the heroes they are, even if they need a little rescuing themselves.

After this video was filmed, Jim celebrated over 210 days sober. As of May 2014, he had graduated from rehab and was living on his own, paying his own bills. Powerful stuff.

Watch this magical time-lapse and see a heroic man down on his luck and lost without options be given a tiny chance ... a chance that has made all the difference in his life.

Photo courtesy of Purina® Cat Chow®
True

Know someone who’s over 60 and feeling lonely? Help is just a phone call away. Purina Cat Chow has partnered with two non-profits in order to bring senior citizens some much-needed virtual therapy cat visits.

Wait…that’s a thing?

When we think of the term “therapy animal,” most of us are probably inclined to picture a dog. After all, canines dominate the therapy animal field at 94%. Felines, on the other hand, make up part of the other 6% (that’s combined with other animals). Anyone who has experienced that special, soul-soothing bliss that comes from stroking a purring kitty in their lap will tell you: those numbers might be off. Although therapy cats make up a smaller percentage of this segment, cats offer a wide array of positive benefits that make them wonderful therapy animals.

Just ask Roger and Sal – a couple of registered therapy cats – along with their handler Tracy Howell.

Since 2016, Tracy and Roger have been working with Pet Partners®, a non-profit that matches volunteer therapy animals of all kinds with people in need of a furry friend visit, including nursing facilities, assisted living, hospice centers, and children’s hospitals.

Tracy and Roger in 2016; Photo courtesy of Tracy Howell

Sal is a mew addition to the team. But he’s already working very, very hard…putting his head on people’s thighs and letting them massage his paws. What a gig.

According to Pet Partners, who have had more than 1,500 felines registered in their Therapy Animal Program, certain populations prefer cat companions to dogs. For one thing: they’re more compact, and generally more quiet, making lap cuddles a much more Zen experience.

Plus, cats tend to be more particular about who they interact with, which can signal a nice little ego boost. “Cats have a reputation for being selectively affectionate. If a cat likes you, you’re special,” says Moira Smith, Pet Partners staff member, team evaluator, and cat handler.

Basically, it feels really good to be invited into the Cat Club. Some of Roger and Sal’s most loyal fans are, in fact, seniors – in particular, those with dementia.

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via Pexels

The Emperor of the Seas.

Imagine retiring early and spending the rest of your life on a cruise ship visiting exotic locations, meeting interesting people and eating delectable food. It sounds fantastic, but surely it’s a billionaire’s fantasy, right?

Not according to Angelyn Burk, 53, and her husband Richard. They’re living their best life hopping from ship to ship for around $44 a night each. The Burks have called cruise ships their home since May 2021 and have no plans to go back to their lives as landlubbers. Angelyn took her first cruise in 1992 and it changed her goals in life forever.

“Our original plan was to stay in different countries for a month at a time and eventually retire to cruise ships as we got older,” Angelyn told 7 News. But a few years back, Angelyn crunched the numbers and realized they could start much sooner than expected.

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True

It takes a special type of person to become a nurse. The job requires a combination of energy, empathy, clear mind, oftentimes a strong stomach, and a cheerful attitude. And while people typically think of nursing in a clinical setting, some nurses are driven to work with the people that feel forgotten by society.

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Pop Culture

How Marvel's 'Moon Knight' teaches us to embrace all our selves

It's also a compelling and compassionate portrayal of mental illness

Sometimes the biggest battle is in loving ourselves

The great thing about Marvel is: even if you're exhausted with superhero movies (it’s okay, I am too) the franchise often sprinkles their mega fights and formulaic plots with thought provoking, empathetic character studies.

In the recent limited (or maybe not so limited) series “Moon Knight”, the hero Marc Spector has Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), a mental condition where a person has at least two or more distinct personalities. As with any piece of art made public, there has been criticism of the show, in particular of the accuracy of its portrayal of DID.

However, the negative feedback misses Moon Knight’s ultimate success: Marc’s story not only inspires compassion for mental illness, it also shows us that sometimes the biggest battle we face is simply loving ourselves entirely.

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The 1990s was a magical time.

If you grew up in the '90s then you were part of the last generation of kids who lived without being constantly connected to the internet. You lived during that last gasp of the analog era where most of your entertainment came on tape and if you wanted a new pair of Guess jeans or LA Gear shoes, you had to drive to the mall.

Also, if you wore pants that looked like this, people actually thought you were cool.


Families mattered on Friday nights.



People listened to rock 'n' roll because it was important.



Hip-hop was at its peak.



People spent time talking to each other instead of staring at their phones.

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