Tag Archives: love

he’s a keeper!


♥  love, love, love this story!  ♥

(NEWSER) – Turns out Pinterest is good for something other than bookmarking recipes and crafts you’re never really going to make: One resourceful boyfriend snuck onto the site and used his girlfriend’s “Dream Wedding” pin board to actually create her dream wedding, the Daily Mailreports. It all started when Ryan Leak, 27, overheard his then-girlfriend Amanda Roman, 25, tell a friend that she wanted to get engaged and married on the same day. So, for the next year, Leak set out to make it happen.

Using the 220 images on her Pinterest board, Leak chose the flowers, the decorations, and even Roman’s dress. In June, the couple flew from their home in Dallas to Miami (he told her they were helping a friend move), where Leak proposed … and hours later, they got hitched. About 100 of their friends and family members were there, and Leak even flew out Roman’s hairstylist to do her hair. “When I opened the door and I saw everyone that I loved standing there it was so overwhelming, I felt so overwhelmed with love,” Roman says. And she was wowed: “Realistically I never thought that I would be able to pull off some of the things I saw on Pinterest.”

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i wish mr. & mrs. leak happiness forever!  good job, ryan! 

“Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise.”
 ~ Alice Walker 

you never know who’s watching


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for two and a half years now, i have lived directly across the street from the thai mission.   the doorman at the thai general consulate has worked there for 41 years, although i didn’t know that until today.   i really don’t know very much about him at all, actually.   he speaks very little english and i’m sure we have never had a conversation lasting longer than one minute – until just now.   on my way back home from walking ivan, he crossed the street and waved me over to let me know that today would be his last day, and in his very broken english said the following:

you haven’t been around much lately and i was hoping i would see you before i left.  you are one of the good ones, a big heart, kind – i know it and god knows it.  i wanted to make sure to say goodbye to you – god bless you.

i am putting that on my top 10 nicest things ever to happen list.

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“If you see good in people, you radiate a harmonious loving energy which uplifts those around you. If you can maintain this habit,this energy will turn into a steady flow of love.”
 ~ Annamalai Swami

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cow kisses


 

schoolhouse rd kissing cows 

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“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”
~ Dalai Lama

 

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best friends holding hands


 ♥

best friends

Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.
~ Aristotle

change making!


yesterday, on my usual rounds, i stopped by a rally on east 47th street in dag hammarskjold plaza that blew me away.  the leader of the rally was a self described 16 year old “change maker” named mariely garcia.  trust me, this will not be the last time you read about mariely (. . .  just remember, you heard it here first!)  this is mariely (on right) with another amazing young change maker:

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imagine a 16 year old who has already created a mission for not only herself – but for the world!  mariely is the founder of a campaign called perfectly made with a mission to change reality; to change the definition of the word perfect; to fill the world with love and convince young people of their value.  In her words,

Perfectly Made is a campaign to redefine the word perfect and ignite the flame of self-love and self-worth in young people all across the nation. To be perfect is to be who you are, love who you are, and embrace the perfection in everyone around you. By radically transforming how people think of perfection, we confront issues around self-esteem, bullying, and suicide with a root solution: the understanding that we are all Perfectly Made and must treat others as such. Through social media, videos, daily emails, and events of all sizes, we are sparking an inner transformation in students that ultimately translates into a world where acceptance, love, confidence, courage, oneness, inspiration and vulnerability thrive and are fully embraced.

yesterday’s rally was the launch of a national movement of students transforming themselves and their schools according to the new definition of perfect.  mariely has assembled a dream team & together they’re making it happen.
– she’s 16!!

i’ll walk you through the rally. upon arrival, people were invited to share in mariely’s dream by registering to help.  the next step was to stop by one of many full length mirrors to admire your own perfection. attendees were invited to share their thoughts using supplied crayons and writing on a very long runway of white paper which was laid down nearly the length of the plaza.

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young people were invited to express themselves through dance,

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poetry,

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and song.

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these peeps had talent – they kind you would definitely have paid for. . .  wow!

at an age where many kids have doubts about themselves an often not enough support or experience to navigate the turbulence, marliely and her team provide love and support.

please watch this video,  “like” it,  share it and spread the word.  make it your random act of kindness for today.

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mariely garcia for president!

want to see what a real earth angel looks like?


this is chris:

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now read what he’s done for my family – and just try not to cry!

Hollister Construction Gives Westfield Girl, 9, a Lift

Sara Cagnassola, born with cerebral palsy, had an elevator installed in the Westfield home her great grandfather built.

By Elizabeth Alterman,  Westfield Patch

A conversation with a former college friend led to a dream-come-true experience for the Cagnassola family of Westfield.

Thomas Cagnassola, 44, explained that he ran into his friend and former fraternity brother Chris Johnson at a New Year’s Eve party four years ago. Knowing that Johnson was in the construction field, Cagnossola casually asked his advice on having an elevator installed in the English Tudor he shares with his wife and children.

Johnson, founder and chief executive officer of the Parsippany-based Hollister Construction Services, said while he had noticed that Thomas was often carrying his daughter Sara, then 5, he didn’t understand why his friend would want to undertake such a massive project.

Cagnassola explained that as much as he and his family wanted to remain in their home, built in 1932 by his grandfather, it was becoming increasingly difficult for his young daughter Sara, born with cerebral palsy, to navigate.

“When Chris said he’d like to help, I knew he was sincere but what I didn’t expect was that he not only picked up the ball and ran it though the end zone, but he kept going through the band and out the back door,” said Cagnassola.

Establishing the charitable foundation Strides for Sara in 2009, Johnson made it his mission to first find Sara a wheelchair which would allow her to remain in the Westfield School District. Without the chair, Johnson explained, Sara would have to be bussed nearly 45 minutes away to the Mountain Lakes School District.

While hosting a golf outing for Strides for Sara, Johnson mentioned the need to a colleague who serves with him at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

“He said, ‘We just bought a brand new wheelchair for my mother but she passed away. It’s never been used,'” said Johnson.

“Next thing we knew a Hollister truck pulled up and dropped off the wheelchair,” said Cagnassola.

Once he’d secured the chair, Johnson said he was “off and running.” Each year, Strides for Sara has been hosting a fundraising event with the long-term goal of installing an elevator inside the Cagnassolas’ three-level home.

This March that dream became a reality. After working with an architect and finding contractors and subcontractors who were willing to donate their time to this labor of love, the three-and-a-half story addition was complete.

Johnson explained that the project, which took a little more than five months to build, began with a ramp at the mud room level. Cagnassola said this ramp, which allows Sara the independence to go outdoors and visit with friends in the neighborhood without having to ask her mom for help, is just one of the examples of the ways the team took all of Sara’s needs into consideration.

Johnson said the kitchen and bathroom areas are now ADA-complaint. In addition, an electrician has outfitted the home so that through an iPad, Sara is able to adjust light and heat settings as well as see who is at the front door.

“Sara is the fifth generation of our family to live in Westfield. My dad and grandfather are both Westfield High School graduates. This house means a lot to us. If it weren’t for Chris and the Hollister Foundation we would have had to move to a ranch, I’m sure,” said Cagnassola, who added that it was thrilling to watch the project come to life. “This is a fairy tale for any family with special needs. It’s like something right out of one of those television shows.”

Through his company’s charity, The Hollister Foundation, Johnson has raised more than $500,000 to promote awareness for organizations that foster children’s advancement through education and healthy initiatives. The organization supports a range of charities including Strides for Sara, United Way, Community Food Bank of New Jersey, Hugs from Home, and The Center for Autism.

Additionally, Johnson is a supporter of the Ryan Wolf Kossar Foundation, the CJ Foundation for SIDS, the Development School for Youth, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Family Services of Morris County and Fairleigh Dickinson University, according to Hollister’s website.

Sara’s First Ride

Once the installation was complete, Sara reserved her first ride for the man who made it all possible–Johnson. The entire Hollister team, along with the subcontractors who donated their time and talent to the project, were at the Cagnassolas’ home for the inaugural ride.

“It took four years of grit, determination and, most of all, love for Sara to see this project through, from getting permits and approvals, to raising donations and holding fund-raising events, to completing the construction work,” said Johnson. “All that effort came together when we saw the big smile on Sara’s face as she took her first ride on her elevator. It was a wonderful moment that reminded us of why we are committed as a company to building stronger communities by doing what we can to help those in need.”

Johnson said intially he had been thinking only about how the elevator would improve life for Sara but after taking their first ride together, Sara’s reaction made him realize the full impact this gift would have on the Cagnassola family.

“She said, ‘Now my mommy doesn’t have to carry me – it will help Mommy,'” recalled Johnson. “It was pretty moving.”

“There wasn’t a dry eye in the place,” added Andrew Goetting, Hollister’s Business Development Manager.

Johnson said he was motivated to help his friend’s family because he always believed Sara should be offered the same opportunities his own children have.

“It’s important to give back,” said Johnson, a 2011 finalist in the Corporate Citizen of the Year category of the 2011 NJBIZ Business of the Year awards program. “But the actual gift was to us. After we finished, you felt good, like you could run through brick walls.”

Cagnassola said he can’t thank Johnson and his team of contractors, electricians and plumbers enough. “You’ve not only transformed my home but also my daughter’s abilities,” he said.

For more information about Hollister Construction Services, visit the company’s website 

sara chris johnson strides (5)to the team of hollister construction – thank you, thank you, thank you!!

sara chris johnson strides (4)pushing the button – getting ready for take-off!

sara chris johnson strides (3) mommy & sara

sara chris johnson strides (2)mission accomplished!

sara chris johnson strides (1) sara & hollister superheros!

sara chris johnson strides (6) happy family with grandma & grandpa

may god continue to bless you forever and ever,
chris johnson!

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.
~ Lao Tzu 

happy pre-valentines day!


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“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr. 

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good morning new york!


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i want to take this time to publicly thank the city for it’s sheer awesomeness!  just imagine all of the greatness that is unfolding on this tiny island as i write .  it’s almost hard to wrap your head around it all . . . .

 

City Love

 

 

try not to cry


 


story peeps

 

“I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.”
- Arthur Rubinstein

what would you love in 2013?


 

and what would you do to prepare if you absolutely knew it was going to manifest for you?

i am going to meet many amazingly wonderful people, one of which will be my future husband, get and sell the shot that will launch my photography career, write, write & write some more, do my best at the work i love which will compensate me beyond my wildest dreams, be aware and act on every opportunity to serve and finally, stay present and see the joy in every second of every day.

as you can see, i’ve got a lot to do right now so we’ll touch base again later, ok?

many miracles, peace, love & joy to all!

namaste,

laurie

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“All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness … the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.”
~ The Dalai Lama