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Rachel Wished for Clean Water. What Will You Wish For?

Some of us wish for a new purse, a spa day, or a snazzy watch for our birthdays. And that’s when we’re turning 40. It was one little girl, who was just turning nine, who wished for something much more intangible, meaningful, and priceless than a Coach clutch or Cartier. She wished for clean water. Let me say that again: clean water. I think I was wishing for Polly Pockets at that point—this girl was a step ahead.

It kills me that she had to take a step back. Rachel Beckwith, who was simply trying to raise $300 by her ninth birthday, was tragically killed in a car accident just days after blowing out the candles. There’s always a sunny side though, even in situations as horrific as this. With Rachel’s passing, it has also come to pass that she’s raised more than her $300 goal. She has instead raised $695,445 from 34,772 people at this time. I’ll bet that by the end of the day, that total will be past $700,000.

If we all had wishes like Rachel for our birthdays, I think many more of them would come true. Let’s start wishing for things that make others happy for an extended period of time, instead of just ourselves. Invite others to donate to the causes that you have a passion for, whether it’s saving pandas, stopping sex trafficking, or making progress in cancer research. You may think that your “meager” donation of $300 may not matter, but it does. It did for Rachel.

My heart goes out to Rachel’s family and I hope that can sense the massive amount of support extended toward them. No amount of money can provide solace with such a loss like this, but this amount of money will provide a great amount of happiness for the people getting a clean gulp of water. The hundreds of thousands of dollars that have been donated are bringing joy and health to hundreds of thousands of people. Now that is a dream come true.

What will you wish for and what will you do to make it happen?

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

Finishing Strong with Nick Vujicic

Ever since the beginning of senior year, there has been a mantra that I’ve taken with me wherever I go.

“Finish Strong.”

I suppose our English teacher was trying to protect us from the oh-so-contagious senioritis. She reminded us that we had to be resilient no matter where we were in our lives. With her, there was no such thing as textbook trauma or the classroom coma—you should be present in mind and body every day. Whether it was the first day of class, or the last day getting our diplomas, we always had to finish strong. And we did.

I’ll never forget the day we watched Nick Vujicic’s video to send the message home. A man with no arms, and no legs, but the strongest of spirits encouraged us that we should always “get back up.” Nick is living proof that no matter what physical or mental limits, you can always finish strong.

You can imagine how thrilled I was to learn that Nick is coming to my hometown this weekend to speak. I am beyond ecstatic and I hope that I will get to meet this amazing mentor. After having read his book, which you can see here, it would mean so much to hear Nick’s words in person. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Here are the details for where Nick will be this weekend:

I hope you always finish strong.

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

Conversations with God and Yourself

Last night I finally sat down—after I had been sitting all day in traffic, at the office, and back in traffic. Somehow, it’s a different kind of sitting. So when I sat down at the end of the day and channel surfed like I often do, I actually caught a good wave for once.

I’m a huge advocate of reading New York Times Bestselling books. It’s like a good song on the radio—it must be popular for a reason. So when I saw Conversations with God come on the TV, which is an adaption of the book, I was intrigued. The title sounded familiar, and while I was mildly skeptical at first, 8:00 somehow became 8:30, then 9:00, and finally 9:30 when the credits rolled.

The movie was not Academy worthy in cinematography but I thought it could definitely garner an Oscar buzz for its content. Even though we may not be homeless like Neale Donald Walsch was (he is the author of the book), there was still a universal concept that we can all relate with. And no, it’s not that we can talk to God (although I recommend you give it a go sometime—what, I think they call it “praying” or something?)

No matter what you believe, whether it’s in a God or not, I believe that we can all communicate with ourselves. It might sound ridiculously silly or amazingly foreign—but really—how often do you have an inner dialogue with yourself to check in?


Follow Your Heart

We often say that we have so many questions. I think we already know many of the answers if we have the courage to ask within. Deep down, we can be honest with ourselves. But we don’t always want to sacrifice the smoothness of a surface. We can lie to ourselves because of our mother’s, our society, and our desires tell us what should make us happy. Not always what will. For instance, you can tell yourself that, yes, this is your dream job. But really? Is it? And yes, you can say to yourself that this is the man I want to marry. But do you find yourself thinking, do we have to get married so soon? The answers are there.

Our intuition could be a strong muscle in our spirit if we exercise it more often. But sometimes, we get lazy and it’s just easier to live in mundane comfort. Getting our brains to the mental gym is exhausting…but it’s always worth it. So have that conversation with yourself. And maybe with God if you feel like it.

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook
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