Feb. 6: Blind Guide

In the media coverage of activist Chen Guangcheng’s fight to leave his native China for the United States, some focused on his blindness as a key element in that story, while others thought it peripheral.“His blindness did not give him any particular bravery or insight,” wrote one author.  “It is just a factor in a much larger life.”  Conversely, a journalist saw his lack of sight as “the central fact” of his existence.Blind from a young age, Guangcheng managed to study law.  His work on … [Read more...]

Feb. 5: Wake-Up Call – Take Two

You open your eyes to begin the day—and it’s suddenly a disaster.  Maybe your children are throwing a collective “I don’t want to get up!” tantrum.  Or perhaps the morning news program pronounces packed roadways or troubles on commuter trains.Press “rewind” on the day’s start with these three steps.▪ Find the light.  Stand in a sunny spot in your home for just a few minutes to absorb the brightness and warmth, natural mood elevators.▪ Shake it off—literally.  Walk quickly around the h … [Read more...]

Feb. 4: A Suitcase for Dreams

As a flight attendant, Kary Doerfler of Seattle, Washington, made many journeys, logging miles across the globe.  But one trip—to Accra, Ghana, in Africa—changed the direction of her life.While there, she started volunteering at the Osu Children’s Home orphanage, bringing them supplies whenever she returned.    Soon she realized she wanted to do more than just make a visit, give out toys and go home.So Doerfler started a non-profit organization called Dreams for Orphans to provide a home … [Read more...]

Feb. 3: Let the Lower Lights Be Burning

Let the Lower Lights Be BurningThe Lower Lights, a gospel group that performs classic hymns with a folk/bluegrass flavor, took its name from one of the songs they recorded: Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy.In a sermon, 19th-century preacher Dwight L. Moody told the story of a Lake Erie ship that crashed into the shore of a Cleveland harbor during a violent storm one night, killing many on board.  Though the lighthouse shone brightly, its lower lights, which guide ships safely to shore, … [Read more...]

Feb. 2: Gifted Teacher Inspires Many

When Jacksonville Beach, Florida teacher Mike Tetlow died unexpectedly, First Coast News writer Erin Hawley shared his story along with the tributes sent in to honor him.On his honeymoon 18 years ago, a car accident left Tetlow paralyzed.  Using a power-driven wheelchair, he returned to teaching at St. Paul’s Catholic School where students and faculty admired him for being passionate, demanding, and encouraging, while never dwelling on his disability.  His assistant principal, Krissy Tho … [Read more...]

Feb. 1: Transforming Hate Into Love

While visiting his sons’ video production office in Chicago, Christopher Award-winning Today Show producer Mike Leonard met 63-year-old postal worker James Hundley.  Leonard’s reaction: “Never have I met a more friendly, polite, upbeat person.”  Those personality traits were surprising in light of Hundley’s background facing down hatred and violence.In the mid 1960’s, Hundley joined his fellow African-Americans in peacefully marching for civil rights in his native Mississippi.  He was cursed … [Read more...]

Jan. 31: Adopting Soldiers

Six journals filled with hand-written praise and thanks from everyday Americans are among Sgt. Timothy Gallagher's most prized possessions. Deployed in Afghanistan, Gallagher is one of the soldiers “adopted” by Delta flight attendant Robin Schmidt, who regularly passes journals around domestic flights for passengers to write notes to members of the U.S. military.Messages are wide-ranging, including jokes, thank-you letters, condolences, and surprising confessions. Afghan and Iraqi passengers … [Read more...]

Jan. 30: From Toledo to Tanzania

Meeting someone on a plane can be memorable, but rarely does it lead to selling one’s home, moving to Tanzania, helping start a Catholic university, and converting to Catholicism.  Yet that’s what happened when Toledo, Ohio’s Don Stiles met Tanzanian Archbishop Paul R. Ruzoka on a flight in 2009.Stiles and his wife, Gisela, became friendly with the archbishop, and grew to support his mission to build a university in Tabora, Tanzania, so much that they moved there.  Though not Catholic themsel … [Read more...]