Thursday, February 23, 2017

Catching Up with Grandma

Hey Readers!

My grandma's stories, which she began sharing with me over the phone in 2006, were the reason why we became best friends and the reason why I started The Best Day of My Life So Far. Every time I visit her in Seattle, I feel a surge of re-inspiration to reach out to more older people in more places and help their stories reach more young people. My visit home this time was extra special because it's the first time we sat together in front of my laptop to check out Best Day's new mission video. She doesn't speak English so I translated what our participants and interviewees say on screen to her, word for word. With each word, her smile grew. The organization's impact is really her impact – I told her I am so grateful that she's changed the lives of so many people. She simply giggled, as she always does when we talk about Best Day's growth, "I was just the first in line." She'll never brag. She's too cool for that. She's my hero.

That's why I have been a little slower at posting stories on this blog the last couple weeks, because I have been soaking up my time with my family and especially my grandma. But I want to let you know, you guys are always on my mind!!

Actually, this may be a good time to let you in on a little secret... our team has been creating more (crazy exciting) ways to deliver more stories to you than ever before! So if you ever feel that things are a little slower here on the blog, it's probably a sign that things are really picking up behind the scenes and we will have great things to unveil shortly. Stick with us and check back soon! In the meantime, check out our video (with a grandparent or an older bud, maybe) and sign up for our newsletter so you can get the full scoop!

Have a BEST day! - Benita

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Neha (Diwali)

For today, how about a story from Neha who is a super volunteer on our super facilitating team? Yes, Neha, take it away... take us away to Diwali, the loveliest festival of the Hindus!

Neha Katoraka

Diwali is the most colorful, sacred, and loveliest festival of the Hindus. This year, it is on the 30th of October. The festival marks the happy return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after 14 years exile. It is the festival of lights. It means a row or collection of lamps. A few days before Diwali, houses, shops, are thoroughly cleared and decorated. People exchange greetings and gifts or sweets on this day.

At night, buildings are illuminated with dujas, candlesticks, and electric bulbs. We worship Goddess Lasimi, the goddess of wealth at night. Children explode crackers.

I haven’t been able to celebrate this festival with my family for the last 3 years.

This year, we would be celebrating the festival at the University with a group of Indian students. I am really looking forward to this new experience of celebrating our festival with a group of new people.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Diana (My First Day of Birth)

I have to be honest. I didn't really know what to post today. The news and the country seem so tense lately. Too much has been said. And so I was just looking, not for answers, but for a little clarity, a little simplicity as I looked through the stories that our older adult buds have been sharing. The stories never ever disappoint me. This one was it. This one was what I need personally. A celebration of life at its most basic, at its most simple, and yet miraculous little form.
Diana Hallock
My First Day of Birth

One of my beautiful days was when I was born in Edinburgh, Scotland – Great Britain. My mother was young and pretty and lived in the United States, in Brooklyn, New York. My father was born in Shuttleland, Scotland – Great Britain. He had an uncle, his mother’s brother, named Charlie who took my parents to live with him and Aunt Sarah on Orchard Street, Edinburgh, Scotland, GB.

When mother gave birth at the Royal Hospital, Edinburgh, Scotland, of me, I was almost 4 lbs, with lots of dark hair, and she also tld me I was born at noon. Uncle Charlie brought my mother to the hospital (by foot) and she said the doctor who delivered me had red hair. The nurses thought my Uncle was my father. My father as I am told, was looking for a job at the mills (paper mills) but mother’s story said my father was drinking at the “pub.” In Great Britain, the bars were called “the pub.”

My mother, after delivering was put on the “ward”. The wards were rooms in the hospital which held many iron beds. At the end of each bed were iron baskets which were made beds to hold the little babies in. So mothers could breast feed the little ones. The babies, which were under weight had cotton around them to keep them warm.

The depression was starting in the United States. My parents (mother pregnant with me) from LI, NY, US came to Great Britain by boat in 1952. My Uncle Charlie was a brother in the order of the healing Brothers of Marta’s, and also served as a volunteer in World War I of the Shelters in Edinburgh, Scotland, GB. This was my first day of living outside my mother’s warm womb. I am blessed.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Hazel (Lucille's Wisdom)

Martin Luther King Day became one of my favorite holidays a few years ago during a Best Day session when my buds around the table - many of whom happened to be African American at that particular session - spontaneously opened up about their experiences of watching him speak in person and on live TV. The past and the present connected for me within that simple hour. History felt for the first time relevant. Hope and dreams for the country felt possible. MLK the icon became suddenly very real, his message of love and unity became timeless. And every time this holiday comes around, I am reminded that this country is worth dreaming for.

Hazel Nurse
Lucille’s Wisdom

It all started several years ago when I received a phone call from my mother inviting me to come to hear a speaker in Atlantic City.

 Having just moved into another home a few months earlier and bearing the responsibilities of a wife and working mom, I refused.  She, on the other hand, insisted that I would miss listening to him tell America a few things.  She said “He has something on the ball”.

Out of respect for her, I reluctantly got my pregnant self together, grabbed my seven year old son and boarded a train to meet her. After his speech, we went and shook his hand, at the Atlantic City High School, in 1958.

Little did Mom know that a national holiday would be celebrated in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Joe (New Words in the 21st Century)

Hope everyone is having a good year... so far! From emoji, to selfie, to doorbuster, to blockbuster, Joe takes us on a stroll through new words in the 21st century. Wonder what new words 2017 will bring?! Does anyone have any early predictions ;)?

Joe Garrison
New Words in the 21st Century

For the 21st Century, a number of new words have been added in the dictionary. For instance, “emoji.” I have never heard of what an emoji is, but I got to know about it a year ago. It’s so wonderful how the various adjectives / feelings can be expressed graphically.

Now a days, people have started using abbreviations during chating like “LOL.” The other craze people are having these days is of SELFIE. People are taking selfies which is a new trend. The idea of taking a picture of myself has never got into me.

I watch an investigation channel on TV, I know they have writers who write the show. One of the expressions I have heard of is “Nobody needs electricity as you can light up the room with your smile.”

A woman from the South is called “Southern Belle” as if other women are not beautiful.

An other expression which I am tired of hearing is the word “Blockbuster.” During World War II, the people used a type of grenade and explosive to demolish a block of the city, so the word came into existence.

Now people have started using the wood “Doorbuster” that is the greatly reduced price and people are getting and busting the door to get the stuff and now the word came up.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Farrell (Love of Life)

Can it be true that 2017 is just 3 days away? Time to soul search our way towards our new year resolutions!! No matter what your personal resolution turns out to be, here's a story about simply being you, simply loving life, simply finding little ways to show kindness to those around you. Good luck soul searching! Hope this story helps to jumpstart some new year ideas ;)

PS - Best Day has got awesome things planned for the new year. Get the scoop by signing up for our newsletter here!

Farrell Ward
Love of Life

I feel so good to be alive this day. Life has so many ups and downs, but when it is up, it is wonderful.

Today is an up day. A day that is filled with new changes and new people. It is nice being in a place where you know you can and will be helped to better yourself and hopefully others around you. I am looking forward to receive the blessings that will come my way, by being a partner in the resources of this agency. So for now and the future, thank you for letting me be … ME.