A dramatic rescue in Kenya’s Masai Mara game reserve was captured by wildlife photographer Jean-Francois Largot.

A tiny lion cub, which has somehow slipped and fallen over a cliff, is crying out pitifully for help as it clings on for dear life to the side of the almost vertical cliff.

The mother arriving at the edge of the cliff as her son cries out pitifully for help

Read the rest of this entry…

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When 29-year-old Liu Peiwen proposed to his 23-year-old girlfriend Ling Hsueh, she jokingly told him, in reference to the song 500 Miles by Scottish band The Proclaimers, she would only marry him if he walked 1,000 miles for her.

The lyrics of the song goes: “But I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more, just to be the man who walked a thousand miles, to fall down at your door.”

But before Ling got around to telling Liu that she was only joking, he had set off from the city of Anyang in Henan province on the marathon hike to Ling’s hometown in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province in south-east China, 1,600km (1,000 miles) away, with only a rucksack and a red flag that reads “Valiantly, full of mettle, setting out to visit my wife’s mother.”

Liu Peiwen on his 1000-mile marathon hike for the love of his girlfriend (Photo Credit: CEN)

Ling told local media: "He's such a fruitcake. I would have married him anyway and was only joking when I said he had to walk a 1,000 miles."

Liu estimates it will take him about six weeks to complete his journey: "I love walking and always wanted to see more of the country - but my love was the final push I needed to set off."

Liu said: 'When I get there I hope she is waiting for me and I will ask her again - and I hope she says yes.'

“Life is short,” he said, “and for love, there’s no challenge too great.”

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Do you remember how you felt when you had your first kiss? One YouTube video sensation is taking its viewers down memory lane as it shows the innocent first kiss between 5-year-old Elliot and his 6-year-old friend Bowie.

Elliot and Bowie will remember their first kiss forever because the video of their first kiss on YouTube has already garnered more than seven million views on YouTube since it was uploaded on May 4 2011.

Harmony Smith, the 24-year-old mother of Elliot, had no idea that the video would become such a viral hit when she posted it on YouTube last week to share with family and friends.

Smith was taking a video of Elliot and Bowie when they started to talk about giving each other a kiss after Bowie kissed Elliot on the cheek.

Bowie giving Elliot a kiss on his cheek

Elliot says, "You kissed me, I kiss you."

The two playfully go back and forth with Elliot then giving Bowie a kiss on the arm. Elliot goes in for another "arm kiss," and Bowie says, "Let's kiss."

The two then kiss on the lips while Elliot's mother can be heard saying, "Hey, hey, hey … no more."

Elliot then proceeds to hoot and holler crying out, "Woo hoo, we kissed on the lips."

Don’t worry, they are not related. She is literally the “girl next door”. It just so happens that Elliott’s shirt has 'All You Need Is Love' written on it, while Bowie’s middle name is 'Love'. What a coincidence!

Teen sensation Justin Bieber saw the video and tweeted it to his more than nine million followers saying “This kid has game.”

Is this a case of “Too much, too soon, too young” or is it plain cute and adorable?

The two cute kids

The video has given Smith and the two video stars the opportunity to appear on "Good Morning America" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

However, these two sweeties are just being innocent and in the moment.

"I kiss you because I like you," is smug Elliott's reaction.

Cute!

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The haunting story of a dying girl who leaves a drawing of a sandpiper for the grouchy man she has befriended on the beach has touched the lives of many people. The story has been attributed to no less than three persons: Ruth Patterson, Ruth Peterson and Robert Peterson. But the real author is Mary Herman Hilbert; the full-length of Hilbert’s story appeared in 1978 in a periodical produced by a religious order in Canada and was subsequently published in condensed form in Reader’s Digest in 1980.

We can learn two lessons from the story. First, it teaches us not to let our own grief and suffering blind us to the travails of others. Second, it advises us that even in the face of unfolding personal tragedy, we should strive for all the “happy days’ we can, like the six-year-old girl in the story.

The story serves as a reminder to all of us that we need to take time to enjoy living and life and each other. The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less.

The shadow of your smile

When you are gone

Will follow all my dreams

And light the dawn …

The Sandpiper

By Mary Sherman Hilbert

S he was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live. I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me. She was building a sand castle or something and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea.

Six-year-old girl on the beach

“Hello,” she said.

I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child.

“I’m building,” she said.

“I see that. What is it?” I asked, not caring.

“Oh, I don’t know, I just like the feel of sand.” That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes.

A sandpiper glided by.

A sandpiper

“That’s a joy,” the child said.

“It’s a what?”

“It’s a joy. My mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy.” The bird went glistening down the beach.

“Good-bye joy,” I muttered to myself, “hello pain,” and turned to walk on.

I was depressed; my life seemed completely out of balance.

“What’s your name?” She wouldn’t give up.

“Peter,” I answered. “I’m Ruth Peterson.”

“Mine’s Wendy… I’m six.”

“Hi, Wendy.”

She giggled. “You’re funny,” she said.

In spite of my gloom I laughed too and walked on. Her musical giggle followed me.

“Come again, Mrs. P,” she called. “We’ll have another happy day.”

The days and weeks that followed belong to others: a group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings, and ailing mother. The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out of the dishwater. “I need a sandpiper,” I said to myself, gathering up my coat.

The ever-changing balm of the seashore awaited me. The breeze was chilly, but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed. I had forgotten the child and was startled when she appeared.

“Hello, Mrs. P,” she said. “Do you want to play?”

“What did you have in mind?” I asked, with a twinge of annoyance.

“I don’t know, you say.”

“How about charades?” I asked sarcastically.

The tinkling laughter burst forth again.

“I don’t know what that is.” “Then let’s just walk.”

Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face. “Where do you live?” I asked.

“Over there.” She pointed toward a row of summer cottages.

Strange, I thought, in winter. “Where do you go to school?”

“I don’t go to school. Mommy says we’re on vacation.”

She chattered little girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind was on other things. When I left for home, Wendy said it had been a happy day. Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed.

Three weeks later, I rushed to my beach in a state of near panic. I was in no mood to even greet Wendy.

I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt like demanding she keep her child at home.

“Look, if you don’t mind,” I said crossly when Wendy caught up with me, “I’d rather be alone today.”

She seems unusually pale and out of breath. “Why?” she asked.

I turned to her and shouted, “Because my mother died!” and thought, my God, why was I saying this to a little child?

“Oh,” she said quietly, “then this is a bad day.”

“Yes, and yesterday and the day before and-oh, go away!”

“Did it hurt? ”

“Did what hurt?” I was exasperated with her, with myself.

“When she died?”

“Of course it hurt!” I snapped, misunderstanding, wrapped up in myself. I strode off.

A month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she wasn’t there. Feeling guilty, ashamed and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door.

A drawn looking young woman with honey-colored hair opened the door. “Hello,” I said. “I’m Ruth Peterson. I missed your little girl today and wondered where she was.”

“Oh yes, Mrs. Peterson, please come in” “Wendy talked of you so much. I’m afraid I allowed her to bother you. If she was a nuisance, please, accept my apologies.”

“Not at all-she’s a delightful child,” I said, suddenly realizing that I meant it.

“Where is she?”

“Wendy died last week, Mrs. Peterson. She had leukemia. Maybe she didn’t tell you.”

Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. My breath caught.

“She loved this beach; so when she asked to come, we couldn’t say no. She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called happy days. But the last few weeks, she declined rapidly…” her voice faltered. “She left something for you…if only I can find it. Could you wait a moment while I look?”

I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something, anything, to say to this lovely young woman. She handed me a smeared envelope, with MRS. P printed in bold, childish letters. Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues-a yellow beach, a blue sea, and a brown bird. Underneath was carefully printed: A SANDPIPER TO BRING YOU JOY.

A sandpiper to bring you joy.

Tears welled up in my eyes, and a heart that had almost forgotten to love opened wide.

I took Wendy’s mother in my arms. “I’m so sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, ” I muttered over and over, and we wept together.

The precious little picture is framed now and hangs in my study.

Six words- one for each year of her life- that speak to me of harmony, courage, undemanding love. A gift from a child with sea-blue eyes and hair the color sand— who taught me the gift of love.

“The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less”

Life is so complicated, the hustle and bustle of everyday traumas can make us lose focus about what is truly important or what is only a momentary setback or crisis.

This week, be sure to give your loved ones an extra hug, and by all means,take a moment… even if it is only ten seconds, to stop and smell the roses.

This comes from someone’s heart, and is read by many and now I share it with you…

Everything that happens to us happens for a reason.

Never brush aside anyone as insignificant.

Who knows what they can teach us?

I WISH FOR YOU, A SANDPIPER!

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It was a cold day in December. A little boy about 10-year-old was standing before a shoe store on Broadway, barefooted, peering through the window, and shivering with cold.

Boy peering through the window

A lady approached the boy and said, “My little fellow, why are you looking so earnestly in that window?”

‘I was asking God to give me a pair of shoes,’was the boy’s reply.

The lady took him by the hand, went into the store, and asked the clerk to get half a dozen pairs of socks for the boy. She then asked if he could give her a basin of water and a towel. He quickly brought them to her.

She took the little fellow to the back part of the store and, removing her gloves, knelt down, washed his little feet, and dried them with the towel.

By this time, the clerk had returned with the socks.. Placing a pair upon the boy’s feet, she purchased him a pair of shoes.

She tied up the remaining pairs of socks and gave them to him. She patted him on the head and said, ‘No doubt, you will be more comfortable now.’

As she turned to go, the astonished kid caught her by the hand, and looking up into her face, with tears in his eyes, asked her,   ‘Are you God’s wife?’

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Today is Valentine’s Day and to all my readers wherever you may be, I wish you a very happy Valentine’s Day. May the day be filled with great joy and love!

Happy Valentine's Day

Saint Valentine’s Day, commonly shortened to Valentine’s Day, is an annual commemoration held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs, Saint Valentine, and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 500 AD. It was deleted from the Roman calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI, but its religious observance is still permitted.

It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”). The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

Modern Valentine’s Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.

The modern cliché Valentine’s Day poem can be found in the collection of English nursery rhymes Gammer Gurton’s Garland (1784):

The rose is red, the violet’s blue

The honey’s sweet, and so are you

Thou are my love and I am thine

I drew thee to my Valentine

The lot was cast and then I drew

And Fortune said it shou’d be you.

Every February 14, across the United States and in other places around the world, candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint, and where did these traditions come from?

The history of Valentine’s Day — and its patron saint — is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.

One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men — his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.

According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl — who may have been his jailor’s daughter — who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It’s no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.

Valentine's Day poem

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Love seemed like an impossible dream for Dong Zhiyuan and Yuan Wanyu before they got to know each other through the internet over a year ago.

Dong, a 23-year-old from a remote county named Tai’an in northeast China’s Liaoning Province, was born with congenital rickets and is only 80 centimetres in height. He has been dubbed “Mini Boy” or “Shorty.”

Yuan, 21, was badly disfigured due to an accident when she was a one-year-old baby. She has no fingers on her left hand and a badly burnt nose. For 20 years, she had been unable to close her eyes due to the disfigurement.

Dong, due to his physically-disability, spent most of his childhood in bed since he was prone to fractures and was thus home schooled.

When he was 18, he asked his mother to buy him a second-hand computer, determined to be a useful man rather than a burden to the society. With dedication and self-discipline, he became very savvy in website construction and internet technology.

A founder of four websites and an operation supervisor of seven websites, he is now an IT clerk of an information services company in Anshan, regional capital of his hometown.

News of Dong conquering physical and social challenges spread beyond his hometown and tugged at the heartstrings of Yuan who was living in south China’s Guangdong Province.

Financial difficulties of her family had forced Yuan to give up her college dream. The discrimination caused by her disfigurement also robbed the high-school graduate of many job opportunities, throwing her into despair.

In 2009, Yuan, dejected after several unsuccessful job interviews, found a confidant on a head-hunting website for the disabled.

That confidant was none other than Dong. Being in the same boat as Dong, Yuan found herself falling in love with Dong.

“He is a very kind man,” said Yuan.

In early April this year, Dong  confessed his feelings to Yuan. “I love her from my heart,” Dong said, “and I will warm her heart all my life.”

Yuan was deeply touched by Dong’s genuine confession and soon moved to his home in Liaoning.

Dong feeding Yuan the dishes she had cooked for him

In order to heal Yuan’s eye problem, Dong withdrew all his savings and brought the Yuan to Shenyang, capital of Liaoning Province, for cosmetic surgery.

Dong encouraging Yuan just before her first cosmetic surgery

Love conquers. Getting to know of the couple’s story, Shenyang Xiehe Cosmetic Hospital waived the  100,000 yuan (around 15,000 USD) surgery fees.

Dong Zhijun holding the hand of Yuan Wanyu after the first surgery

After the first round of surgery, Yuan is now one step closer to become  a normal girl.

Meanwhile, Dong got a new start in his career. He set up a vegetable plantation and provided green vegetables to local residents and city dwellers.

Yuan tapping the forehead of Dong after Dong lost a poker game

“To me, Yuan is the holiest and most gorgeous girl in the world,” Dong said, “I will marry her after she completes all the surgeries so that she can finally put on a beautiful wedding dress. No matter what happens, Wanyu and I will face up to it together.

Yuan washing Dong's hair

This is such a sweet love story…..one that touches hearts and gives hope to others.

Yuan and Dong...such a sweet love story

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They were madly in love. They were surfing’s royal couple. And their lives consisted of going to the most beautiful places in the world together. He liked to surf. She loved spending time with him, playing golf, shopping and enjoying life. They were, quite simply, love on tour.

But all that came to an abrupt end with the sudden demise of the Andy Irons yesterday.

Theirs is a love story made in heaven. They first met in Fiji about six years ago, but both were in relationships at the time. They would see each other a few times a year until they ran into each other in Encinitas, San Diego where Lyndie was living.

Irons & Dupuis...so much in love

Andy’s first thoughts when he initially met Lyndie hint at love at first sight, “I thought she was the most beautiful girl I have ever seen,” he recalls. “I felt love the first time I met her.”

Andy proposed to Lyndie in June 2007 while on the heart-shaped island of Fiji. “Andy walked me around the island at sunset and when we got to the point there was ‘Will you marry me?’ in the sand,” Lyndie recalls of the proposal. “Then he got down on one knee and asked me with a huge fake diamond that we got at Luke Egan’s wedding. It was so romantic and perfect!”

Andy Irons married Lyndie Dupuis on November 25, 2007 in Princeville, Kauai, Irons’ home island. Lyndie looked especially beautiful that day in an icy white silk gown with loose flowers in her hair. She held a cascading bouquet of white phalaenopsis orchids with bursts of yellow. Her bridesmaids carried bouquets of yellow cymbidium orchids, green chinaberries and equestrian reed stems against their chocolate brown dresses. Andy was handsome in a beige Calvin Klein suit and maile lei.

Andy Irons and Lyndie Dupuis' wedding

Lyndie & her bridesmaids

(For a detailed write-up of the wedding and more wedding photos, please go to this link.)

Andy put a lot of  focus and effort into pleasing his lady. “He does lots of sweet things for me,” Lyndie says. “He buys me flowers and surprises me with trips around the world. Every holiday he makes it so special for me. He even does Easter egg hunts for me in Australia because I am not home with my family, and that’s a tradition for my family.”

Andy and Dupuis in Sydney

Lyndie had traveled with Irons on tour now for the past three years. There is rarely a picture of Andy at an event without the beautiful 25-year-old brunette at his side.

“It’s been amazing,” Andy said of having his better half on the road with him. “She has a lot to do with my success.” And with three world titles under his belt, (two of which she was on hand to witness) that is saying a lot.

Andy Irons and Lyndie Dupuis sharing a light moment

Lyndie liked tour life because every day feels new and exciting. Her role as girlfriend has morphed into manager: organizing Andy’s travel plans, dealing with media requests, emails, scheduling interviews and appearances and so on.

Andy and Lyndie

Constantly traveling and competing can wear on a person’s spirit, but it seemed Andy was thriving on sharing it with his loved one.

“Without her, nothing in my life would work,” he said. “I would fall off the tracks.”

Hot Lyndie and Irons in a photoshoot

On the lay days, the pair cruise and soak in the local sights wherever they are. They also like to golf, go to the movies and the mall. Andy had a healthy serving of the tour’s party scene in his rookie years, so he enjoyed going with Lyndie to see tourist or cultural spots he never explored on the tour before. Andy added, “My favorite time to spend with her is when it’s just us with no interruptions, which is rare.”

Irons & Lyndie enjoying life together

Lyndie carving a Halloween pumpkim with a friend

Their beautiful love story has come to a heartbreaking end. As the surfing world mourns Irons’ death, it is hard to fanthom the depth of the sorrow and anguish that Lyndie is now going through. Dupuis is now seven months pregnant with their first child who will never get to see his/her dad. May time heal her sorrow and pain  and may Irons rest in peace!

The beauties behind Acacia Swimwear...see more photos at this link

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