Navy Wife Shocks Her Sailor After His Deployment with Pregnancy Surprise

This story made me smile and shed a few tears too on this beautiful Friday morning. Now, I’m a complete sucker for military homecomings, but this one was even more special and exciting to watch!

Last month, a Navy wife surprised her husband returning from deployment in a pretty big way…quite literally. About a week after Chris Daugherty was deployed to the western Pacific in January, his wife, Natasha, found out she was pregnant with their fourth child. She thought about calling on Skype to reveal, but nah, that wasn’t special enough. Instead of telling Chris while he was away, Natasha waited a full SIX MONTHS so she could surprise him when he got home. And man, was he shocked!

Natasha did well in keeping things a secret, especially online. She would even place her 18-month-old daughter over her growing baby bump so Chris wouldn’t suspect anything. So, when the time came to pick him up, Natasha held a sign over her stomach that said “Welcome Home Baby Daddy.” Of course, the sailor didn’t think anything of the sign, because, he already has three kids, a son and two young girls. But when she put that sign down, revealing she was 7 1/2 months pregnant, he couldn’t help but look at that bump and ask, “Is that real?!”

Watch the great moment below!

Chris and Natasha had been trying for another baby, so it was definitely an exciting moment for Chris. The happy couple and their family also recently found out they’re expecting a beautiful baby girl in August! Congrats to them!!!

Artist Creates Interactive Phone Booths In NYC To Share Stories of Immigrants

An artist has created a cool, interactive way to share the stories of immigrants with New Yorkers and tourists alike!

In Times Square, Afghan-American artist Aman Mojadidi  installed old phone booths from the 80s which allow people to pick up the phone and hear the history of a recent NYC immigrant! A phone book inside each booth teaches visitors more about each immigrant’s community — both in New York and the country from which they immigrated. It also allows those who listen to write down their own stories about their families and culture.

Titled Once Upon a Place, the installation features recordings Aman obtained over several months. He asked participants to tell their stories however they felt like, using whatever language they wanted-— either English or their native language. The exhibit includes at least 70 stories without translations, each one lasting anywhere from two to 15 minutes. These storytellers come literally from all over-—Bangladesh, Belgium, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Sierra Leone, Spain, and more!

Check out a feature on the piece below!

It’s a piece special to Aman because he himself is an immigrant, and has connected with other NYC residents that immigrated from various places as well. “For me, the most important outcome of Once Upon a Place is that, no matter how different the experiences of migration might be among the storytellers, visitors will hear the common humanity in their voices,” Aman said.

Over a third of NYC residents were born in other countries, so this piece shows that the city and really, all of America, is a big melting pot of cultures that ought to be respected and celebrated. Instead, often, even legal immigrants are made to feel like outsiders in a country they’ve been able to make home. However, hopefully, as Aman said, this piece will be able to connect with people and show that, in spite of our differences, we are all still one at the end of the day. It looks like a really cool installation, and the stories could actually make for a great full-length documentary if you ask me!

Once Upon a Place, which went live on June 27, will be on display in Times Square until Sept. 5.

Britney Spears Raises $1 Million for the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation

Britney Spears is giving back in a major way for a cause near and dear to her heart!

The pop icon raised $1 MILLION with donations from her “Piece of Me” show ticket sales, all to be donated to the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation. Using the funds, the foundation is opening up its Britney Spears Campus,  a 16,000 square-foot facility which will offer over 45 pediatric and adult services, this fall.

There are many things I’ve done in my career that I am proud of, but none more than this,” Britney revealed in a statement. “The fact that I was able to use my celebrity status to raise the money to build this incredible facility to help sick children and their families when they need it the most not only brings many tears to my eyes, but really brings tremendous meaning to this amazing journey that I have been on.”

Britney’s own Aunt Sandra passed away from cancer, so she knows firsthand the effects that this disease has on not only those who are battling it, but also their families. “I’m just glad that I can help in some small way. I want to thank the NCCF for the amazing work they do on a daily basis and I look forward to being there to officially open the Britney Spears Campus of the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation in the fall,” the statement continued.

NCCF currently helps over 400 pediatric patients, survivors and their families in southern Nevada. Once it moves into this new building, the foundation’s healing arts services program, The Caring Place, will double in size and offer extended service hours.

It’s awesome that Britney used her major platform to be able to give back to NCCF. She’s definitely no stranger in giving back, but it’s always nice to read of what all she and other celebs are doing to help causes in this country and in the world!

New York Nun Offers Housing and Mentoring to Women Recently Released from Prison

One caring nun up in New York is helping women get readjusted to life after prison in a powerful way!

Sister Tesa Fitzgerald is the founder of Hour Children, a non-profit in Long Island City that provides housing, mentoring and job training for mothers recently released from behind bars. Since 1986, Sister Tesa has helped thousands of women (about 200 a year) to get their lives back on track through the program.

One mother, Stephanie Reis, knows the power of Sister Tesa’s work for herself. After Stephanie was released from prison after two years, Sister Tesa helped move her and her 2-year-old son, Major, into one of the nonprofit’s three apartment buildings, AND got Stephanie enrolled in college. Sister Tesa’s love made the difference in my life, as I know it did and does for many,” Stephanie revealed to PEOPLE. “There’s been no more stumbling through darkness to figure out which turn is right. Instead, a hand is extended and you’re embraced the entire way. I’m extremely grateful.”

Check our more of Sister Tesa’s work with Hour Children below!

The program has also helped women to be able to rebuild relationships with their kids who visit, with Sister Tesa and her team encouraging the moms to even take parenting classes. “Our guiding principle is that children who grow up with their moms have a better chance of becoming successful adults,” Sister Tesa said. “We’re all about second chances. More than anything, we want these women and their children to have dignity and hope.” That’s what it’s all about! 

Funded primarily through donations and sales from two Hour Store thrift shops, Hour Children also runs a food pantry and will soon be opening a teen center. Wow…Sister Tesa and her team are seriously busy! This nonprofit is so necessary, because often, ex-cons are written off without a second chance to come back and make a positive influence on their community. These women that take part in Hour Children have a real second chance to get things right, and this organization shows that there are people around who care enough to help them. I look forward to hearing more good things from them! 

Woman Starts Coffee Shop That Specifically Employs Adults with Mental Disabilities

Positive stories like this first thing in the morning really do make my day!

In Wilmington, NC, Amy Wright has gotten national attention for creating a coffee shop that employs people with mental disabilities! Not only is business booming, but Amy and her team are helping to shut down stereotypes at the same time.

Before the shop’s official opening in January 2016, Amy and her husband were shocked to discover that almost 70% of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities do not have jobs. Thinking of her own children, Beau and Bitty, who both have Down syndrome, Amy decided to take action.

She created Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, which now employs 40 people with disabilities, as well as two managers who have degrees in special education. “I realized it would be the perfect environment for bringing people together,” Amy told CNN of starting the shop. “Seeing the staff taking orders, serving coffee — they’d realize how capable they are.”

Check out more about the shop below!

The idea of this shop is so great to see because people can have preconceived notions about people with disabilities, like they all aren’t capable of doing things or having positive interactions with others, when they are! The interaction between customers and staff her at Bitty & Beau’s helps breaks that stereotype.  “Creating this has given people a way to interact with people with disabilities that [they] never had before,” Amy said. “This is a safe place where people can test the waters and realize how much more alike we are than different. And that’s what it’s all about.”

All the profits from the coffee shop go to Wright’s nonprofit, Able to Work USA, a nationwide initiative created specifically to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) find meaningful employment!

This was definitely really cool to see. If you’re in the Wilmington area or close by, you should check it out. Maybe one day I’ll get down there for a visit myself!