Awesome Stories 186

This week Awesome Stories brings you magic trees, mid-flight miracles, smiles, eco-heroes and love.

Arkansas Eco-Hero

Arkansas Eco Hero, Awesome Stories

Last week I wrote about greening your home as a way to help create a more sustainable life. Nao Ueda takes sustainable living to a whole new level with her commitment to living gently on the planet. She lives in an urban environment, goes carless 5 days a week, works from home as an environmental advocate, collects rain water, raises chickens and more. Nao definitely lives her values, serving as an inspiring role model and eco-hero. And she’s not stopping, she has plans for solar power, wood stove, carpentry, home brewing, sewing and more! Wow!

image by Dero Sandord

Sad update. I just found out that Nao died on July 29th from self inflicted wounds. This is another powerful reminder that we never really know what others are going through. Let’s spread the kindness with smiles, listening and helping hands. You might just change a life.

Hundreds of Smiles

Simple joy. This video is simply sharing the energy of many smiles. Enjoy!  🙂

Mile High Magic

Here’s a heart warming story from fellow blogger Shauna at Luggage Lady. “I witnessed the closest thing to a miracle I have ever experienced in my 20-year flying career. I had met Victor Marx during boarding when he greeted the flight crew with his beautifully inspiring book. What I didn’t know was how swiftly this gregarious passenger would morph into Guardian Angel…As I was serving drinks during flight, a teenage boy traveling alone told me he was on the verge of having a panic attack. His skin tone appeared pallid and he was shaking profusely… His demeanor teetered on agitated terror.

Enter Victor — acclaimed public speaker, author, and survivor of an unimaginably abusive childhood — specializing in helping abused and troubled youth worldwide!! Within moments of him talking to our frazzled young traveler, a complete transformation occurred. Turns out this child was also a victim of abuse. Victor knew precisely what to say… When I checked on him later, his color had returned and his hands were steady. “I can’t believe this happened — Victor rocks,” he gushed. “I’m going to call my dad the minute we land and tell him I forgive him.”

The Psychology of Hope

Researchers have found that hope has a role in creating better health, attitude and performance. Most interesting to me is the idea that hope is a complex arrange of feelings and outlook that can be learned. Anthony Scioli, a professor of psychology at Keene State College and author of The Power of Hope, has shown that hope can be developed. Scioli created a more complex view of hope, beyond psychology, that is rooted in our essential self and spirituality. His research shows that faith is the foundation for hope, as well as strong interpersonal connections, gratitude, patience and charity. And surprisingly, hope is the best predictor of well-being.

Magic Fruit Tree40 Fruits Tree, Awesome Stories

I’ve heard of grafting trees, but this is amazing. With a growing passion for fruit trees, Sam Van Aken learned about a local orchard, filled with a treasure of rare and unique heirloom fruit varieties, that was going to be destroyed. Sam decided to preserve the orchard and began experimenting with grafting different heirloom varieties until he came up with his Tree of 40 Fruit. He considers these trees an art project in design, research and preservation. They grow 40 different kinds of stone fruits on one tree, including peaches, plums, cherries, nectarines and more! Sam has grown 16 of these magic trees so far, planted mostly in museums, community centers and private collections. I would love to have one of these trees! Imagine one tree that treated you to a rainbow of colors in the spring, followed by a variety of fruits at different times all summer long. Awesome!

Anything for Love

Some of you may know about Locks for Love, an organization that accepts donated hair and money to make wigs for children suffering hair loss for any reason. The idea is to help boost their confidence. Here is a great example of friends and family showing their love for a friend going through cancer. Watch and weep!

What inspires you? Go do something awesome! Even imagining it will alter your brain and physiology in a good way. Have fun! 🙂


23 thoughts on “Awesome Stories 186

  1. Dearest Brad, How incredibly kind of you to share my “mile high” miracle! I was already smiling, but your video took that to another level. A smile is truly the most beautiful thing we can wear! For me, the highlight of your psychology of hope article was the “me-we/ever-supportive of others” manner of thinking — because it reminded me of YOU!! I want Sam’s magical fruit tree in my yard — just saying… 🙂 And lastly, what those girls did for their friend was amazing. The woman at the end summed it up perfectly: our hair is but a small part of us — our biggest gift is that we are healthy. I so appreciate your inspiration & friendship!! 💞 p.s. sorry to hear about Nao

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Shauna, you are a kind and consistent supporter. Thanks!

      I was surprised you didn’t put the story of Max on Your blog and delighted to share it here. Several of us might have to share that crazy fruit tree. Do you have any special connections to get us one? XD I am grateful for my health, online friends and smiles. 🙂


  2. Another great collection, Brad. I was fascinated by the fruit tree grafting and wondering if all the different branches bloom at once like that, or if it is an artist’s rendition?

    I was also struck by the powerful and obviously unintended synchronicity of your post, where Nao’s story was offered alongside the article about the importance of hope. I don’t know anything about Nao other than the paragraph I read, but speaking in the most general terms, I think sometimes causes, if we perceive they are failing or coming up short, can turn from something positive into something weighty indeed. We can over-identify with the need to fix or change the world, and when it seems an uphill slog, the question is how to sustain hope in the face of seeming hopelessness. I think, as always, it’s a question of the sources from which we derive peace and well-being, and how we see ourselves within this crazy unfolding life…


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Michael, The photo is of an actual tree. He views them as works of art and I agree. 🙂 They are literally grafted for design, mix of fruits, progression of harvest and more. Follow the links if you want to learn more or google him. I wondered about Noa and her dedication to the cause too. Her to do list was incredibly ambitious. I don’t know the details of her death and am saddened no matter why. And I agree that it’s good to take care of ourselves and ideally “feed” ourselves from internals/ source or things that we control and not the results of our efforts to change the world, even if that is a great cause and goal.


  4. Lemons are said to be the richest fruit. ZEST is the blended or shredded skin. Smoothies with whole lemon banana berries ginger cinnamon yogurt etc. There is a chemical in lemon that triggers dopa mine and serotonin. Squeeze some lemon juice onto your palm and wipe it on your lip and nose area cupping the hand over breathing deeply . Lemon oil and lavender oil combined trigger both chemicals as well. Massage triggers both plus oxcytocin. The color blue also triggers both. A famous quote- “The body is THE temple of the holy spirit”. Another, “Do this in remembrance of me”. Do this remembrance of Nao Ueda. Maybe she could not live when her beloved earth is being hurt so deeply. She would have loved what is going to happen at Dignity Village Fayetteville.
    Michael Brown 760-318-5797.


    • Hi Michael, Nice to see you here and thanks for the helpful tips. I’ve used lavender oil, but not lemon. Yes, Nao probably would have liked the Dignity Village idea. Please keep me apprised of progress. Blessings, Brad


  5. I absolutely love your awesome-stories posts, Brad. So uplifting and inspiring. Even the sad coda of Ms. Ueda’s death doesn’t stop or negate the good that she promulgated in her too-short life, may she rest in peace. That 40-fruit tree boggles the mind. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks Kathryn! Great perspective about Nao and her life. She was amazingly dedicated to living and promoting sustainability and touched many people. Those fruits trees are amazing and I really want one!
    Have a great week. 🙂


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