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Solace can be hard to find in times of grief.

Which is why Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is so incredible. The organization is made up of photographers who capture perhaps the most painful moments of parents' lives in a beautiful way that honors those families and the babies they've lost.

When new parents aren't able to bring their babies home from the hospital because they're stillborn or pass away shortly after birth, these professional photographers step in, volunteering their time and talent. At the families' request, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep provides free images that, as the organization explains, "serve as an important step in the family's healing process by honoring the child's legacy."


A touching video tells the story of the Harris family, who experienced the loss of their son, Brendan Noah. It's worth your time to scroll down and watch because it's difficult to put into words the emotion it conveys. But if you're unable to, here is their story.

On Christmas morning, Lauren and Jason Harris learned they were expecting a baby.

Image by Upworthy.

They were thrilled, and soon-to-be big sister Delaney was excited, too. "She would call the baby Twinkle," Lauren said. "[She] said he was a star in the sky." As precious as that name is, the family decided their new baby, who they later learned would be a boy, would be named Brendan.

Fast forward almost seven months. Lauren woke up one morning in July and felt like something was wrong. They went to the hospital, where they suffered a terrible loss: Brendan was stillborn.

The hospital contacted a photographer from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep at the Harrises' request. It's impossible to capture the pain of a loss that big. But because of the organization, the family has photos to remember their baby.

Photography by Susan Cook, owned by the Harris family. Used with permission in the video.

"When I look at the photos, I'm brought back to that day," Lauren said. "And it was a horrible, horrible day. But at the same time, it was the day that I met my son."

As Jason put it, "Even though it was a difficult time, we're able to see the beauty in the photos ... and remember that ... was the one time my family was complete — that we were together as a family of four."


Susan Cook, a volunteer with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, received a call from a labor and delivery nurse who was with the Harris family.

"When you see that number, you do sort of ... take a big sigh because you know what that means. It doesn't mean something good," Susan said.

Susan Cook takes on the difficult task of helping families capture a painful but important moment so that they have photographs of their children.

"I've thought about why would I do this," she continued, "and the only thing I can say is that I always feel like it's an honor to be there. This is a situation where I can do something. How amazing is that? We don't get that opportunity often. So I think if you can do something and you have that skill set — that I happen to be a photographer that's amazing for me."

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep has over 1,700 professional photographers who volunteer their time and expertise to preserving precious memories for families who have lost their babies.

For heartbroken parents, they truly offer a priceless gift — capturing a moment of togetherness, of remembrance, of family.

You can learn more about the valuable services they provide by visiting their website, and you can watch the Harris family's story.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

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via Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

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All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

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We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

Education

All-female flight crews known as 'Night Witches' bombed the crap out of Nazi targets in WWII

The Germans were terrified of these pilots whose silent planes swooped in like ghosts.

The Night Witches were feared by the Germans for their stealth bombing runs.

If you like stories of amazing women, buckle up, because this one is a wild ride.

During WWII, the Soviet Air Force's 588th Night Bomber Regiment flew incredibly harrowing missions, bombing Germans with rudimentary biplanes in the dead of night. The Germans called them Nachthexen—"Night Witches"—because the only warning they had before the bombs hit was an ominous whooshing sound akin to a witch's broom.

The "whoosh" sound was due to the fact that the women would cut the planes' engines as they approached, gliding in stealthily before dropping their bombs. And the Night Witches moniker was fitting, considering the fact that the 588th was an all-female regiment.

Their missions were incredibly dangerous, especially considering how the women were equipped. Most of the recruits were in their late teens to mid-20s, and crew members had to learn how to pilot, navigate and maintain the aircraft so they could serve the regiment in any capacity. They underwent an intensive year of training to learn what usually took several years to master.

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This article originally appeared on July 2, 2019


Sadly, a lot of men go out of their way to avoid learning anything about a woman's period.

(That could be why throughout most of the United States — where the majority of lawmakers are men — feminine hygiene products are subject to sales tax.)

So we should give some love to the guys who make an effort to learn a bit about the menstrual cycle so they can help their family members when they're in desperate need of feminine hygiene products.

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