The Friday 5: Your Uplifting Stories of the Week

Sometimes the news can be, well, not so inspiring. When headlines get you down, it’s important to remember that positive things are still happening all around us. Here are five hopeful and encouraging stories to pay attention to this week:

Praying for a Chance to See Art

Museums in France have closed due to the pandemic. Churches, however, are open for masked and socially distant visitors to come in “see jewels of sculpture or painting as if they were in a museum.” During the past year, those finding themselves in need of art, reflection, and inspiration are turning towards sacred sites. Most of the 100+ churches are Catholic, although there are three Protestant churches and one Russian Orthodox chapel. There is an online directory in both French and English, and audio tours in French. Read more.

Dolly Parton Gets the COVID Vaccine

Dolly Parton is calling on others to stop being “chicken” and to receive the COVID Vaccine, even adapting her famous hit “Jolene” to “Vaccine” in an Instagram video post. Last week, the country singer and American icon donned a mask and cold-shoulder top to receive her COVID vaccination. Dolly explained how “dead serious” she was about it, ensuring that she waited for her turn, even having donated a million dollars to vaccine research at Vanderbilt. “I don’t want it to look like I’m jumping the line just because I donated money,” she said. We know what song we’ll have in our heads this weekend… “Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine. I’m begging of you, please don’t hesitate.” Read more.

Music Heals: Supporting Those With MS Through Music Therapy

Singer and actor Ben Platt and dancer and actor Courtney Platt are launching a digital musical therapy program for those with Multiple Sclerosis called MS in Harmony. A partnership with pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb and the American Music Therapy Association, MS in Harmony is the first musical therapy plan available for those with MS. Music therapy has been found to be hugely physically and mentally beneficial for those with central nervous system diseases. The MS in Harmony website is interactive and accessible from the comfort of one’s own home, and videos are led by credentialed music therapists. Courtney has been leading the #MSinHarmony Instagram social challenge, encouraging MS patients and others to share a video of them singing or dancing “to help spread mind-body harmony in support of those with MS.” Read more.

Tom Hanks, Stephen Colbert, and the Super Bowl Conspire to Support Small Businesses

One small North Carolina bookstore was on the verge of closing when support from a few celebrities brought a flood of traffic to their site. Foggy Pine Books in Boone, NC, was like many small businesses struggling to make their way through the pandemic. But after an endorsement and a Superbowl ad created by Stephen Colbert and starring Tom Hanks, the store has exceeded their necessary purchases and will be able to continue selling books to locals and readers across the globe. Read more here and find your local bookstore here.

Good News Grows, Literally

Two years ago, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church began growing vegetables to provide for their food pantry after one Churchgoer invited them to use a plot in the community garden. When the pandemic began, community members sought to fight off food insecurity, growing extra food for those who have less. Volunteers have continued to work together throughout the pandemic, masked and distanced, to continue growing the Church’s crops. As they tend to the seeds in the earth, they also nurture the community around them, and fight off some of the pandemic-induced loneliness. Read more.

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