How many of you remember what it was like before air conditioning? (Or how many of you are enduring the summer without it right now?) To hear someone tell it, before fans and AC came along, there was one guaranteed way to keep cool inside: Stay very, very still. See, sometimes we forget to be grateful for our everyday luxuries until someone reminds you what it’s like without them! Get your chill on with this week’s Good Stuff. We promise, you won’t break a sweat.
Our favorites this week
Get going with some of our most popular good news stories of the week
A few dollars, a big difference
With the kindness of its members and some help from a special charity, an Indiana church network has raised more than $30,000 and used it to alleviate millions of dollars of medical debt in local communities. How do you turn thousands into millions? It sounds like something straight from the Bible, but it’s actually all about opportunity and generosity. Northview Church has seven different campuses across the state, and every quarter they do a “Dollar Club,” where they ask each of their several thousand members to donate a single dollar. Recently, the church asked for a bit more, and then revealed a surprise: They had partnered with a medical debt relief program, which buys medical debt at a discounted rate. When all was said and done, the thousands in donations translated to $4 million in medical debt relief for people around Indiana. Obviously, any story of people struggling with medical bills is tough to stomach, but the pastors at Northview say it was an opportunity for people to be good neighbors for those in need.
A proud big bro
As you know, we are suckers for a cute picture, and this one definitely hits the spot. That’s 8-year-old Derek and his 5-year-old sister, Charlee. When Charlee recently graduated from her Connecticut Pre-K, Derek ran up to her, gave her a hug and started crying. “I’m just so proud of you,” he said. (C’mon, everyone needs someone like Derek in their lives!) Of course Charlee started crying too, and when their mom and dad asked why there were so many tears, Charlee said, “I’m just so happy.” Their mother Aundrea Smith posted the adorable pic on social media and kicked off another round of positivity when she asked people to “tag someone who is a blessing in your life.”
A final salute
Five-year-old River “Oakley” Nimmo was a brave fighter all his life. The little boy battled neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer, and dreamed of one day joining the Army. Sadly, Oakley passed away last week, but his admiration for men and women in uniform left a meaningful mark on the Arkansas military community. Dozens of members of the Arkansas National Guard showed up for the boy’s memorial service, where they posthumously made Oakley an honorary colonel before giving him a final salute. Maj. William Phillips, a public affairs officer with the Arkansas National Guard, said the members were honored to be there, and such a show of support is in the spirit of what they do. “It’s a part of our community responsibility,” he said. “We’re all Arkansans, and we’re always ready and always there to support our fellow Arkansans in a time of need.”
Raise a glass to…
Sandy Zimmerman, the first mom to complete the second round of the fabled “American Ninja Warrior” course. (You know, that ridiculous obstacle course that you sometimes convince yourself you could definitely do if you just like, ate more protein?) The 42-year-old crushed the “lunatic ledges” and the “warped wall” and all sorts of other sadistic tasks as her husband and three children cheered her on from the crowd. And Zimmerman was a champion before she ever set foot on the course: She’s also a physical education teacher, former Division 1 basketball player and Judoka who overcame a traumatic childhood in foster care to become a hardcore athlete.
A bright idea
It’s no secret that some of our best and most formative memories can be unlocked by food, and a new trend in self-care and therapy aims to harness the power of these emotions. Culinary arts therapy, which combines cooking with traditional therapy, focuses on the mindfulness of preparing a meal. The almost meditative aspect has proven helpful for those with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, but can it also help someone who accidentally broke a wine glass above their stovetop and had to throw out an entire pot of perfectly-seasoned homemade pasta sauce?! Just asking for a, uh, friend.
You gotta see this
Look, a pink rainbow! A few of these rose gold arcs were spotted around England this week, to the delight of social media. Rainbows like these are rare and typically appear at sunrise and sunset. During those times, sunlight has to travel through a thicker part of the atmosphere, which only lets longer red wavelengths from the rainbow’s color spectrum to be refracted. Although, given how trendy and Instagram-friendly they look, you’ll probably see them again at Coachella next year.
Heroes among us
Paul Santell spends at least 30 hours each week feeding and trapping stray cats throughout New York City’s boroughs. He started this heroic undertaking when he moved to Queens and started feeding stray cats. Cat people, you know how that goes: One day you’re feeding two or three, then you’re feeding 50, then you’re taking an ASPCA class on how to safely trap them so they can be fixed and then released. At least, that’s how it went for Paul, and his good deeds have earned him a serious Instagram following, a few thousand grateful strays and a spot in CNN Heroes’ Class of 2019. Unfortunately, the Bureau of Superhero Names was understaffed the day Santell’s paperwork was submitted, so people just call him …”Paul the Cat Guy.” Hey, at least it’s straightforward.
Wanna get away?
Whoa. Drink in the view of the Pacific Ocean from the coast of Big Sur, California. This jewel-toned paradise is one of CNN Travel’s best places to celebrate America the Beautiful this July 4th. It’s probably a little late to schedule a last-minute getaway this Independence Day, but just remember: You can always go there in your mind.
Did you know no one has ever baked cookies in space? Have you ever even THOUGHT about people baking cookies in space before reading that sentence? DoubleTree, the hotel brand famous for its freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies, will soon have its signature cookie dough blasted up to the International Space Station alongside a special prototype oven that is built to withstand the rigors of being in extraterrestrial orbit. If everything goes well, the cookies will be the first to be baked in space. Does that automatically mean they’ll taste … out of this world? (I’m so sorry.)
Tell us something good
I have been out of the office because I was moving and ruining pasta dishes, so I am cheating this week and making the “Tell Us Something Good” something I love! For those of you into sports, mascots or physical manifestations of night terror demons, you know Gritty, the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers mascot. Gritty is what would happen if a beard fell into some Cheeto dust and then got struck by lightning, but people love him all the same. Take 8-year-old double amputee Caiden O’Rourke. Caiden recently got a custom Gritty- themed prosthetic, and guess who surprised him for the big moment? The googly-eyed monster himself! Caiden’s face is amazing. Imagine being so brave that meeting Gritty doesn’t immediately make you implode in fear. This kid is a beast.
Shameless animal video
There’s always time for cute animal videos. That time is now. (Click to view.)