A HOPE FOR INSPIRATION

It often takes only a brief thought or fleeting image

—as brief and fleeting as the flash of a firefly

to receive fresh inspiration and a renewal of hope.

cropped-firefly-inspiration-header

Firefly inspiration  is a new blog for just such quick flashes of inspiration:

http://fireflyinspiration.wordpress.com/

A Hope from a Birth Song

With a hope to celebrate and honor each of the children of their tribe, one African tribe sings each child’s unique birth song to him/her throughout his/her entire life.

Prior to a child’s birth, the mother of the child is the first one to hear and learn her unborn child’s birth song.

When a woman wants to have a child, she leaves her village and goes off somewhere by herself. She sits down under a tree, and she listens until she hears the song of her unborn child. She then returns to the village to teach her child’s birth song to the man who will be the child’s father. Together, as they are conceiving the child, they sing the child’s birth song to invite the child to its birth.

Prior to a child’s birth, the child’s mother, the child’s father, and the midwives and old women of the village learn the child’s birth song. Later, when the mother is birthing the child, the child is warmly greeted and welcomed into the world by the midwives and old women who sing to him his birth song.

As the child grows up, the entire village learns to sing the child’s birth song, and; therefore, each child continues to hear his unique song throughout his life — when he is hurt, when he is wonderful, and when he goes through puberty. Later, during his marriage ceremony, he sings his own birth song.

The villagers sing the child’s birth song for the last time as the child is dying.

I believe the children of this African tribe are very blessed. The people of the village bless their children every time they sing their birth songs to them. The saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” is very applicable to this village because they truly help raise each of their children.

What a wonderful tradition this is, and what a wonderful way to celebrate and honor each child’s worth and place in her tribe, village, or community.

“People take on the shapes of the songs and the stories that surround them, especially if they don’t have their own song.”  ―    Neil Gaiman,    Anansi Boys

As a former family violence prevention program coordinator and Olweus bullying prevention trainer, I question if a child’s self-esteem and social emotional learning skills could be changed forever by hearing a village or community sing her birth song throughout her entire life.

Could people awakened to know that children are their greatest resource sing children’s birth songs as a tool to build a community…an awakened community in which the repetitious singing of children’s birth songs help abolish hate, prejudice, and violence?

I question, “In a world where we don’t even know the names of our neighbors’ children, what could be the global impact of knowing and singing children’s birth songs?”

I wish I would have known about the birth song tradition before each of my children was born. I would have loved to have given each of them a birth song. That is why, before I wrote this article today, I sent each of my children the link to the YouTube video below.

I urge other parents to do the same for each of their children. Some may also decide to send a birth song to other children they know, especially orphaned, abandoned, neglected, or emotionally, mentally, or sexually abused children. I urge you to find a song, a poem, etc. that will help each child/person know how special she is, or find something that tells each of them what you wish for him. Then send it or give it to each person.

During this holiday season, such a birth song could be an awesome, life-changing gift for someone you love. This gift could make a real difference in a person’s life.

As a way to honor Christ’s birth, those of you who celebrate Christmas may also enjoy sharing one of Christ’s birth songs, which were known to the prophets and/or his parents before his birth.

YouTube video with Rascal Flatts singing “My Wish”.

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Reference:
Welcoming Spirit Home: Ancient African Teachings to Celebrate Children and Community New World Library

A Hope in The Art of Blessing

Because humanity has learned there is much hope in the art of blessing things and people, many ethnicities, cultures, and religions around the world share this art.  The words in the following photo are an example of an Irish blessing.

Blessing is also a core Biblical concept, and The God of Israel actually told the people of Israel that they could choose between life and death, good and evil, and blessing and cursing.

If choosing God’s blessing is a personal choice, then blessing other things and other people is also a personal choice.

Even though people cannot always verbally bless others, people can always bless others in their thoughts, prayers, attitudes, and actions.

At a time in history when schools are beginning to forbid children to say “bless you” when another child sneezes, the art of blessing others is important to teach our children and grandchildren.

The following content about blessing things and people is copied with permission from a little book called The Aloha Spirit by Serge Kahili King:

“To bless something means to give recognition or emphasis to a positive quality, characteristic or condition, with the intent that what is recognized or emphasized will increase, endure or come into being…”

“First of all, the positive focus of your mind stirs up the positive, creative force of the Power of the Universe. Secondly, it moves your own energy outward, allowing more of the Power to come through you.

Thirdly, when you bless for the benefit of others instead of directly for yourself, you tend to bypass any subconscious fears about what you want for yourself, and also the very focus on the blessing acts to increase the same good in your life.

What is so beautiful about this process is that the blessing you do for others helps them as well as you.

Blessing may be done with imagery or touch, but the most usual and easy way to do it is with words. The main kinds of verbal blessing are:

Admiration – This is the giving of compliments or praise to something good that you notice. E.g., “What a beautiful sunset; I like that flower; you’re such a wonderful person.”

Affirmation – This is a specific statement of blessing for increase or endurance. E.g., “I bless the beauty of this tree; blessed be the health of your body.”

Appreciation – This is an expression of gratitude that something good exists or has happened. E.g., “Thank you for helping me; I give thanks to the rain for nourishing the land.”

Anticipation – This is blessing for the future. E.g., “We’re going to have a great picnic; I bless your increased income; Thank you for my perfect mate; I wish you a happy journey; May the wind be always at your back.”

In order to gain the most benefit from blessing, you will have to give up or cut way down on the one thing that negates it: cursing. This doesn’t mean swearing or saying “bad” words.

It refers to the opposite of blessing, namely criticizing instead of admiring; doubting instead of affirming; blaming instead of appreciating; and worrying instead of anticipating with trust.

Whenever any of these are done they tend to cancel out some of the effects of blessing. So the more you curse the harder it will be and the longer it will take to get the good from a blessing. On the other hand, the more you bless the less harm any cursing will do.

Here, then, are some ideas for blessing various needs and desires. Apply them as often as you like, as much as you want.

Health – Bless healthy people, animals, and even plants; everything which is well made or well constructed; and everything that expresses abundant energy.

Happiness – Bless all that is good, or the good that is in all people and all things; all the signs of happiness that you see, hear or feel in people or animals; and all potentials for happiness that you notice around you.

Prosperity – Bless all the signs of prosperity in your environment, including everything that money helped to make or do; all the money that you have in any form; and all the money that circulates in the world.

Success – Bless all signs of achievement and completion (such as buildings, bridges, and sports events); all arrivals at destinations (of ships, planes, trains, cars and people); all signs of forward movement or persistence; and all signs of enjoyment or fun.

Confidence – Bless all signs of confidence in people and animals; all signs of strength in people, animals and objects (including steel and concrete); all signs of stability (like mountains and tall trees); and all signs of purposeful power (including big machines, power lines).

Love and Friendship – Bless all signs of caring and nurturing, compassion and support; all harmonious relationships in nature and architecture; everything that is connected to or gently touching something else; all signs of cooperation, as in games or work; and all signs of laughter and fun.

Inner Peace – Bless all signs of quietness, calmness, tranquility, and serenity (such as quiet water or still air); all distant views (horizons, stars, the moon); all signs of beauty of sight, sound or touch; clear colors and shapes; the details of natural or made objects.

Spiritual Growth – Bless all signs of growth, development and change in Nature; the transitions of dawn and twilight; the movement of sun, moon, planets and stars; the flight of birds in the sky; and the movement of wind and sea.

The previous ideas are for guidance if you are not used to blessing, but don’t be limited by them. Remember that any quality, characteristic or condition can be blessed…”

There is an old Christian hymn that says, “Count your blessings.  Name them one by one…”  When people intentionally take the time to notice, appreciate, name, and bless the things and people in their lives, it increases their awareness of the many blessings that are part of their every day lives.

In other words, people need not only to take time to smell the roses, but take time to bless the roses.  When people choose a life of blessing, they choose lives in which they want themselves and everything and everyone around them to prosper and thrive–not just survive!

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy reading A Hope in A Greeting, Word, or Phrase at http://ahopefortoday.com/2012/01/20/a-hope-in-a-greeting-word-or-phrase/.

YouTube video below of Bing Crosby singing “Count Your Blessings.”

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A Hope for a Bologna Sandwich

For me today, a hope for a bologna sandwich was a hope to satiate a craving; not to satisfy my hunger or keep myself from starving.

Bologna Sandwich

A couple of days ago, for no reason I knew, I started craving a bologna sandwich.  Even though I craved a bologna sandwich– until I went to the grocery store today–I had no bologna.

Upon returning from the grocery store, one of the first things I did was make myself a bologna and cheese sandwich with lots of dill pickles.  Fresh tomatoes are not in season, so “solo” dill pickles had to do.

Then, of course, I had to have some of my favorite potato chips to eat with my bologna sandwich.  So, when I finally sat down, put my feet up in my recliner chair, and ate my bologna sandwich, I slowly entered a realm of paradise.  Everything tasted so good, and I satisfied my craving and my hunger!

With heart-felt gratitude for my sandwich and chips, I reminded myself of the millions of people in the world who do not have the food they crave, nor the food they need to satisfy their hunger and possibly sustain their lives.

The world is facing a hunger crisis

unlike anything it has seen in more than 50 years.

925 million people are hungry.

Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes.

        That’s one child every five seconds.

To feed our growing population we need to increase food production

by 70-100 percent by 2050.

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Can We Feed the World and Sustain the Planet?

is the title of an article by Jonathan A. Foley found at http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=can-we-feed-the-world

This article is about a five-step global plan to end hunger, double food production by 2050, and do both while drastically reducing agriculture’s damage to the environment.

The proposed five steps are: 1) stop agriculture from consuming more tropical land 2) boost the productivity of farms that have the lowest yield 3) raise the efficiency of water and fertilizer use worldwide 4) reduce per capita meat consumption and 5) reduce waste in food production and distribution.

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There were 1.4 billion people in extreme poverty in 2005. The World Bank estimates that the spike in global food prices in 2008, followed by the global economic recession in 2009 and 2010 has pushed between 100-150 million people into poverty.

One in seven people in the world will go to bed hungry tonight.  Source: World Food Programme, 2009.

 You can learn more about world hunger and find hunger fact sheets at http://www.worldhunger.org/learn.htm#Hunger.

Here are a few hunger organizations, which are listed on the world hunger site:

  Bread for the World is a national Christian grassroots organization that seeks justice for the world’s hungry people, including people in the United States, by lobbying Congress and other U.S. decision makers.
  RESULTS is an international citizens’ lobbying group whose purpose is to create the political will to end hunger and poverty. In the United States, its volunteers have campaigned for programs that  combat domestic poverty, as well as for international programs such as  microenterprise lending.  See Hunger Notes urges its readers to join Results
  The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) is a leading national organization working to improve public policies to eradicate hunger and undernutrition in the United States. Founded in 1970 as a public interest law firm, FRAC is a nonprofit and nonpartisan research and public policy center that serves as the hub of an anti-hunger network of thousands of individuals and agencies across the country. It provides news and legislative updates, research materials, and other support services to organizations throughout the United States. It is not a membership organization.

Women make up the majority of the agricultural workforce in many areas of the world.  In the Feed the Future video below, narrator Matt Damon discusses the importance of increasing food production around the world and notes the importance of equipping women with the right tools, training, and  technology to see as much as a 30 percent increase in food production.

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A Hope to Save The Planet

Earth Hour is an annual global campaign to help save the planet.  Native American Chief Seattle said, “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors.  We borrow it from our children.”  This year I challenge everyone around the world to participate in Earth Hour as a commitment of hope to help save our earth for our children and grandchildren.

EARTH HOUR 2012 – MARCH 31, 2012

 

DARE THE WORLD TO SAVE THE PLANET

“We only have one planet.  You can help protect it. Participate in the world’s largest single campaign for the planet: Earth Hour.

It starts by turning off your lights for an hour at 8:30 pm on March 31, 2012 in a collective display of commitment to a better future for the planet.  Think what can be achieved when we all come together for a common cause.”

Earth Hour 2011 took place in 135 countries and more than 5,200 cities – it had a global reach of 1.8 billion and a digital footprint of 91 million.

You can join Earth Hour by clicking on one of the links below:

Facebookfacebook.com/earthhour Twitter:  twitter.com/earthhour YouTube:  youtube.com/earthhour Flickrflickr.com/earthhour_global Tumblrearthhour.tumblr.com Google +:  gplus.to/earthhour

Participate in Earth Hour

Pledge your support:  Click on a category below to sign up to participate and turn off all non-essential lights from 8:30-9:30 pm local time.

Go Beyond the Hour

This Earth Hour we invite you to do more than switch off your lights. We want you to dare the world to save the planet. “I Will If You Will” is a simple promise and a challenge. Dare anyone (your Facebook friends, co-workers, celebrity crushes) to accept your challenge and help protect the Earth or accept the challenge of someone else.

Click here to Visit “I Will If You Will” to see all the challenges and create your own.

All text about Earth Hour-Dare the World to Save the Planet was copied from www.earthhour.org.  Please leave a comment below to let me know that you plan to participate in Earth Hour this year on March 31, 2012.  Thank you, Connie Wayne

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A Hope for Inner Peace from Peace Pilgrim

Mildred Norman Ryder, better known as Peace Pilgrim, had a mission to help promote peace by helping others find inner peace.  She said,

“Peace is an idea whose time has come.”

She backed her words with action as a spiritual teacher, non-violence advocate, and a peace prophetess who lived from July 18, 1908-July 7, 1981.

In order to direct the attention of United States’ citizens to her desire for peace in the world, Peace Pilgrim began her first coast-to-coast pilgrimage across the United States on January 1, 1953.

She said of that day, “On that day I became a wanderer relying upon the goodness of others. It would be a pilgrim’s journey undertaken in the traditional manner: on foot and on faith. I left behind all claims to a name, personal history, possessions and affiliations.”

When she was not on the road, she was busy speaking and gathering signatures for the three petitions she carried in her satchel–one petition with a plea for immediate peace in Korea, and one petition for the President and congressional leaders requesting the installation of a Peace Department.

The third petition she carried was a plea to the United Nations and the world leaders for world disarmament and reconstruction:

“If you would find the way of peace you must overcome evil with good and falsehood with truth and hatred with love. We plead with you to free us all from the crushing burden of armaments, to free us from hatred and fear, so that we may feed our hungry ones, mend our broken cities, and experience a richness of life which can only come in a world that is unarmed and fed.”

She presented the petitions to officials at both the White House and the United Nations at the end of her first walk across the country.

Throughout her twenty-eight year pilgrimage, she honored the same commitment with which she began.  She walked until she was given shelter, fasted until she was given food, and went without money.  The only possessions she had were the clothes she wore, a toothbrush, and a comb.

Peace Pilgrim’s pilgrimage covered “the entire peace picture: peace among nations, peace among groups, peace within our environment, peace among individuals, and the very, very important inner peace.”  She talked about inner peace most often because she felt that was where peace begins.

Peace Pilgrim said, “The situation in the world around us is just a reflection of the collective situation. In the final analysis, only as we become more peaceful people will we be finding ourselves living in a more peaceful world.”.

The following is The Summary of Steps Toward Inner Peace written by Peace Pilgrim:

“FOUR PREPARATIONS        

1. Assume right attitude toward life

Stop being an escapist or a surface-liver as these attitudes can only cause inharmony in your life. Face life squarely and get down below the froth on its surface to discover its verities and realities. Solve the problems that life sets before you, and you will find that solving them contributes to your inner growth. Helping to solve collective problems contributes also to your growth, and these problems should never be avoided.

2. Live good beliefs.

The laws governing human conduct apply as rigidly as the law of gravity. Obedience to these laws pushes us toward harmony; disobedience pushes us toward inharmony. Since many of these laws are already common belief, you can begin by putting into practice all the good things you believe. No life can be in harmony unless belief and practice are in harmony.

3. Find your place in the Life Pattern.

You have a part in the scheme of things. What that part is you can know only from within yourself. You can seek it in receptive silence. You can begin to live in accordance with it by doing all the good things you are motivated toward and giving these things priority in your life over all the superficial things that customarily occupy human lives.

4. Simplify life to bring inner and outer well-being into harmony.

Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens. Many lives are cluttered not only with unnecessary possessions but also with meaningless activities. Cluttered lives are out-of-harmony lives and require simplification. Wants and needs can become the same in a human life and, when this is accomplished, there will be a sense of harmony between inner and outer well-being. Such harmony is needful not only in the individual life but in the collective life too.

FOUR PURIFICATIONS           

1. Purification of the bodily temple.

Are you free from all bad habits? In your diet do you stress the vital foods – the fruits, whole grains, vegetables and nuts? Do you get to bed early and get enough sleep? Do you get plenty of fresh air, sunshine, exercise, and contact with nature? If you can answer “Yes” to all of these questions, you have gone a long way toward purification of the bodily temple.

2. Purification of the thoughts.

It is not enough to do right things and say right things. You must also think right things. Positive thoughts can be powerful influences for good. Negative thoughts can make you physically ill. Be sure there is no unpeaceful situation between yourself and any other human being, for only when you have ceased to harbor unkind thoughts can you attain inner harmony.

3. Purification of the desires.

Since you are here to get yourself into harmony with the laws that govern human conduct and with your part in the scheme of things, your desires should be focused in this direction.

4. Purification of motives.

Obviously your motive should never be greed or self-seeking, or the wish for self-glorification, you shouldn’t even have the selfish motive of attaining inner peace for yourself. To be of service to your fellow humans must be your motive before your life can come into harmony.

FOUR RELINQUISHMENTS           

1. Relinquishment of self-will.

You have, or it’s as though you have, two selves: the lower self that usually governs you selfishly, and the higher self which stands ready to use you gloriously. You must subordinate the lower self by refraining from doing the not-good things you are motivated toward, not suppressing them but transforming them so that the higher self can take over your life.

2. Relinquishment of the feeling of separateness.

All of us, all over the world, are cells in the body of humanity. You are not separate from your fellow humans, and you cannot find harmony for yourself alone. You can only find harmony when you realize the oneness of all and work for the good of all.

3. Relinquishment of attachments.

Only when you have relinquished all attachments can you be really free. Material things are here for use, and anything you cannot relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness possesses you. You can only live in harmony with your fellow humans if you have no feeling that you possess them, and therefore do not try to run their lives.

4. Relinquishment of all negative feelings.

Work on relinquishing negative feelings. If you live in the present moment, which is really the only moment you have to live, you will be less apt to worry. If you realize that those who do mean things are psychologically ill, your feelings of anger will turn to feelings of pity. If you recognize that all of your inner hurts are caused by your own wrong actions or your own wrong reactions or your own wrong inaction, then you will stop hurting yourself.”

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For twenty-eight years, Peace Pilgrim’s message was, “This is the way of peace–overcome evil with good, and falsehood with truth, and hatred with love.”

She also said, “The Golden Rule would do equally well. There is nothing new about that except the practice of it. But I consider it the lesson for today and so it becomes the message of the peace pilgrimage. Please don’t say lightly that these are just religious concepts and not practical.”

“These are laws governing human conduct, which apply as rigidly as the law of gravity. When we disregard these laws in any walk of life, chaos results. Through obedience to these laws this world of ours will enter a period of peace and richness of life beyond our fondest dreams.”

“The key word for our time is practice. We have all the light we need, we just need to put it into practice.”

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A Hope from A Silent Movie Tramp

During the silent movie era, movie star Charlie Chaplin was beloved and well-known for his role as The Tramp.

Chaplin played his first role in a true talking movie in a comedy movie first released in October 1940.

Chaplin’s powerful, final speech at the end of this movie was prefaced with the word “HOPE,” something that was much-needed in the world at that time in history, as well as today.

The movie was The Great Dictator, which Chaplin wrote, produced, directed; and in which he played not one, but two star characters who had strikingly similar appearances.

In his first true talking movie, Chaplin did not play his usual part as The Tramp, but instead played the part of a Jewish barber and the part of a dictator who looked like Adolf Hitler.

Near the end of the movie, subsequent to a series of mishaps, the look-alike Jewish barber replaced the dictator, and the barber was taken to the Capitol where he was asked to give a speech as the future Emperor of the World.

When the Jewish barber–as the future Emperor of the World–was reluctant to speak, the General at his side told him he must speak.  The barber responded, “I can’t;” to which the General replied, “You must– it’s our only hope.”

The bewildered Jewish barber, as if talking to himself, questioningly and quietly whispered, “HOPE?”  Then, he slowly made his way to the platform, in front of the microphone, and there he delivered the powerful final speech of The Great Dictator.

The Jewish barber, the look-alike, future Emperor of the World, ended his speech with these words:

“The soul of man has been given wings and at last is beginning to fly.  He is flying into the rainbow.  Into the light of hope!  Into the future!  The glorious future!  That belongs to you, to me, and to all of us.”…

As you listen to the YouTube video below, I hope this speech will stir you, as it did me.

The words of Chaplin’s speech are as relevant in today’s world as they were over seventy years ago when Chaplin wrote them.  What a powerful challenge of hope for today for the entire world!

Note:  In 1997, the Library of Congress selected The Great Dictator for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.  It was selected and preserved for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”

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A Hope for a New Label

“A Hope for a New Label”  is about a quotation I recently read about a label and how the quotation struck a really strong chord within my spirit.

Some people today are very interested in what designer labels they and others wear on their clothing, shoes, purses, sunglasses, etc.  They often hope to have the money to buy something new for their wardrobe that has a designer label on it.

Product marketers, singers, and musicians may also hope for new labels.  But none of those labels are what this article is about, or the type of new label for which I hope.

I do not know the source of the quotation, or if I am quoting the quotation exactly, but this is the quotation that struck a chord within me:

“Religion is like a bottle with a label on it.

Spirituality is what is inside.”

Even though I do not promote my spiritual beliefs by advertising or wearing the label of any particular religious group, I am a very spiritual person.  I know that I do not require a bottle to contain, or a label to label my spiritual beliefs.

Some people may have the “religion” bottle and label without the spirituality filling.  Some may even be empty on the inside, or they could be similar to the religious people Jesus admonished for presenting an exterior image that did not match their interior contents.

Usually, however, most people label themselves with some religious identity, even if it is the religious identity of their family, or an identity such as agnostic or atheist.

Therefore, I asked myself, how should I respond when someone asks me, “What’s your religion?”

I love to study the etymology of words, and I have learned the root meaning of the word religion.  Religion is not Baptist, Buddhist, Methodist, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or any other label that relates to a particular “religious” organization, dogma, or belief system.

The root meaning of the word “religion” is “to bind back to.”  Religion was a way humanity used to bind them to God; not to a labeled bottle.

Worship has always been the means humanity has used to bind them to God, so religion and worship are sometimes used synonymously.

Worship is not just meditating, singing, dancing, praising, thanking God, or listening to someone deliver a message from Sacred Scripture.  The etymology of the word worship reveals that its root meaning relates to a sacrifice of self.

At this point in my writing, the question, “What’s your religion?” has now evolved into the question, “What are you willing to sacrifice yourself for?”

In case you might be interested in my answer to that question, my answer is , “I love God, I love people, and I love God’s Creation.”  I am willing to sacrifice myself–my time, my energy, my strength, my money, etc.– for God, beliefs, causes, and people I love.

My answer to that question does not mean, however, that I still do not hold to and practice certain spiritual beliefs, but my religion is LOVE.

In my page titled “Meet Me,” I say that I am a catalyst and a visionary for hope.  I would love to act as a catalyst for the design of a new label for all religion bottles.

I would hope to see all the labels religious people wear removed and replaced with a new label, “LOVE.”  After all, love is the substance at the core of world religions, which are still contained in many bottles with different labels.

If every religious person in the world wore the new “LOVE” label, and their interior contents matched their exterior labels, there would then be no need for the various religion bottles that separate and segregate the contents of the bottles.   Without boundaries or labels, people would flow together in love, and in love they would unite.

Am I a dreamer?  I hope I am not the only one.  If you liked this article, you also may be interested in reading http://ahopefortoday.com/2011/11/19/hope-for-worship/.

YouTube video says it all:  Love is the Question, Life is the journey,  and Love is the Answer:

 

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A Hope for Not Complaining

Author Maya Angelou offers a wonderful hope for not complaining:

“If you don’t like something, change it.

If you can’t change it, change your attitude.

Don’t complain.”

What excellent advice Maya gives, but it is often not easy to follow.  Sometimes people are powerless to change things, and sometimes they have strong, unyielding opinions that are difficult to change about those things.

The secret is in the last sentence of Maya’s quotation:  “Don’t complain.”  Things may not change, attitudes may not change, but complainers can choose not to complain out loud.

There are many complainers, but there are also many silent sufferers who are unable to change their circumstances or their attitudes about something that has hurt them very deeply–so deeply that they do not talk about or complain about it to others.

These hurts are often mental and emotional bruises and wounds that are never seen on people’s exterior countenances or in their speech or mannerisms.

There is much evidence that proves it is beneficial for people with these types of bruises and wounds to vent their complaints to someone, especially an experienced professional who knows how to help people who suffer from mental or emotional trauma.

People have different religious and spiritual beliefs that help them heal from illnesses, pains, wounds, bruises, and hurts of all kinds.  As part of my core spiritual and healing beliefs, I believe that Nature is a great mood enhancer and healer.

In the book, Blinded by Science, Author Matthew Silverstone proves scientifically that trees improve depression, headaches, ADHD, concentration, reaction times, and mental illness.

The African Bantu tribes have a spring ceremony during which they offer their personal, traumatic wounds to a tree.  During the ceremony, as they celebrate their intentions to never speak out loud about their wounds again, the Bantu tribes give their wounds to a tree for healing purposes.

I do not know if this Bantu ceremony actually heals the wounds of the Bantu tribes, but this or a similar ceremony–during which people vow to never speak out loud about their complaints again–could certainly be very therapeutic and healing.

This year “Tree Hugging Day” is March 19, 2012, the eve of the March 20th spring equinox.   March 19th could be a good day to venture into Nature specifically to have private ceremonies, where people release old wounds and complaints.

That way, the spring equinox could mark a fresh, new complaint-free beginning for the rest of the year.

Below is a YouTube video of Patti LaBelle singing “I Can’t Complain.”

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A Hope for Global Thinkers

In the movie Pay It Forward, a seventh grade, social studies’ teacher asks his students several profound questions:

1.   “What does the world mean to you?”

2.   “We’re not global thinkers yet, but why aren’t we?”

3.   “What if the world is just a big disappointment, unless you take the things you don’t like about this world, and you flip them upside down…and you can start today.”

4.   “What if it’s possible?  The realm of possibility exists in each of you.”

Many times people procrastinate sharing possibilities–thoughts, ideas, or plans that could change the world–because they are waiting on other catalysts for world change such as political, religious, and socio-economic systems, which are often big disappointments.

To be a global thinker, adults and youth look beyond their neighborhoods, countries, nations, and systems of the world.  They become aware of global problems, and they view themselves and other citizens of the world as catalysts for world change.

The song “We Are The World” sung in the YouTube video below says:

“There comes a time when we heed a certain call, when the world must come together as one…”

“We can’t go on pretending day-by-day that someone, somewhere will soon make a change…We are the world!”

“There’s a choice we’re making.  We’re saving our own lives.”

The movie Pay It Forward and the song “We Are The World” clearly send the message that we are the ones who can and must change our world.

In the book My Grandfather’s Blessing by Rachel Naomi Remen, she writes about our collective human task and how we can serve, sustain, and restore the world:

“We do not serve the weak or the broken.  What we serve is the wholeness in each other and the wholeness in life.  The part in you that I serve is the same part that is strengthened in me when I serve.  Unlike helping and fixing and rescuing, service is mutual.  There are may ways to serve and strengthen the life around us:  through friendship or parenthood or work, by kindness, by compassion, by generosity or acceptance.  Through our philanthropy, our example, our encouragement, our active participation, our belief.  No matter how we do this, our service will bless us. When we offer our blessings generously, the light in the world is strengthened, around us and in us.  The Kabbalah speaks of our collective human task as Tikkun Olam; we sustain and restore the world.”

In the Pentateuch, God asks Moses the question, “What’s in your hand?”  Rabbis, priests, and ministers use this question to challenge people to contemplate who they are and what they have, which they can use to serve God and humanity.

In the same ministerial way, the Pay It Forward social studies’ teacher challenges his class with the following assignment for the year:

“Think of an idea to change our world and put it into action.”

As the Pay It Forward teacher challenged, “What if it’s possible?  The realm of possibility exists in each of you.”  And as God said, “What’s in your hand?”

You might have a laptop with a wireless Internet connection, a cell phone, or some other media device in your hand, which can give you an almost immediate, greater awareness of global problems.

With all the new media devices available, more people also have greater opportunity to become aware of each other’s thoughts, ideas, and plans.  These communication devices now give global thinkers the means to globally communicate with other global thinkers, in a hope to find possible solutions to small or large global issues.

Is it possible that Hope Unites Globally HUG Award Recipients, throughout the world, can work together as global thinkers? Can HUG Award Recipients share their newly established identity and unity and be catalysts to help change our world? IF SO, HOW?

Think big, or think small!  And be sure to leave a comment.  Let’s get a discussion going about possibilities!

If you are not a Hope Unites Globally HUG Award Recipient and would like more information about the award, please read the HUG Award Guidelines at http://ahopefortoday.com/2012/01/14/hope-unites-globally-hug-award-guidelines/

A Hope for Today, sharing about:  life, personal development, spirituality, religion, carpe diem, seize the day, hope for today

A Hope from Confidence

Good friends and contemporary American Renaissance writers, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau both wrote about confidence, and it is hard to know which came first–the chicken or the egg.  Emerson said, “If I have lost confidence in myself, I have the universe against me.”

Henry David Thoreau said, “If one advances confidently in the direction of one’s dreams, and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

Both Emerson and Thoreau had a personal belief in God that was an intrinsic part of their personal confidence; and, it seems that, conditional upon their keeping their confidence, both Emerson and Thoreau believed the vastness of the universe was available to them, to help them be successful.

How can people find and keep the confidence about which both men wrote?  I believe that Marianne Williamson in her book, A Return to Love:  Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles,” gave that answer when she said:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?  Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.  We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Oprah Winfrey said, “Often we don’t even realize who we’re meant to be because we’re so busy trying to live out someone else’s ideas.  But other people and their opinions hold no power in defining our destiny.” (O Magazine, November 2009)

When more people become more confident in who they are, by liberating themselves from their fear, and likewise give others permission to liberate themselves, it is unknown what resources God and the universe could make available for the greater good of all humanity.

William Jennings Bryan said, “The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear and get a record of successful experiences behind you.”

More people having confidence in their abilities, talents, and dreams offers more hope that some of the greatest, unresolved problems of humanity could be solved.

However, these people will need to: overcome fear; move beyond self-limitations; advance confidently in the direction of their dreams; not be intimidated by others; not feel inferior to others; and vanquish jealousy, envy, prejudice, bias, judgment, and condemnation of others.

This often requires people stepping out in faith, not knowing where they are going.  But, as the God of Israel told the Israelites, “…Confidence will be your strength.”

With the right intent and right confidence tempered with humility, people can believe that what they do–no matter how big or how small–will be for the benefit and greater good of all humanity.

The YouTube video below is from the movie The Sound of Music.  It is Julie Andrews singing about her confidence in herself.

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A Hope from a Purple Swan

I suppose somewhere inside me lives a frustrated artist who has not yet burgeoned into full bloom.  By creating an artistic atmosphere in my home, I work on unleashing that fettered artist.

Because I choose to surround myself with things I love such as Folk Art and lots of cheerful color, it was no surprise to me when I recently bought a purple swan at my local thrift store.

My purple swan was just another aesthetically pleasing accoutrement, a symbol of my unique taste and personality, that helped make my house a home.

Because of what I later learned about The Purple Swanmy purple swan is now a constant reminder of hope for humanity.

One day, out of curiosity, I did a Google search on “purple swan.”  I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that The Purple Swan is the title of a children’s book by Patricia A. Daniel.  I was even more pleased when I learned that the book is based on a true story about a little boy named Patrick who has a life-changing experience.

Subsequent to Patrick ignoring a black swan that later mysteriously turns purple in a photograph, Patrick learns from his mistake and is given a second chance to correct it.  As a result, Patrick learns to see with his heart, instead of his eyes.

Patricia Daniel, the author of the book, says there are three key messages in The Purple Swan:

1.  God created each of us as a unique and beautiful person.

2.  In order to recognize the beauty in all humanity, all people need to learn to see with their hearts, not their eyes.

3.  God is found in some very unlikely places.

The hope I found in The Purple Swan is the hope that all people will begin to see with their hearts, instead of their eyes.  Consequently, every time I look at my purple swan, I now remind myself of that hope.  Perhaps every home should have a purple swan!

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A Hope “I Hope”

The lyrics of the song “I Hope” by the Dixie Chicks definitely include many of the same things for which I and many others hope and dream.  It may have been awhile since you heard the song, so I included three different versions for your enjoyment:

1.  The first version has the Dixie Chick’s song with photos that illustrate the song.

2.  The second version has the Dixie Chick’s song with the written Lyrics of the song.

3.  The third version is an ASL/PSE version for the hard of hearing.

I hope you find a version you like.   I hope you also find many of the things for which you and others all over the world hope.  As you listen to the song, I hope you will be reminded of the words of Anne Frank:

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single minute before starting to improve the world.”

Remember, “Hope Unites Globally.”  If you do not know what that means, read the article at:  http://ahopefortoday.com/2012/01/14/hope-unites-globally-hug-award-guidelines/.

A Hope for Today:  a hope for me and you, a hope for everyday life, a hope for the world, a hope to carpe diem, a hope to seize the day, hope and inspiration for today, Hope Unites Globally.

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A Hope from Angel Wings for Elephants

Reading the title of this article, most people will assume that it is an article about hope brought from the wings of celestial angels such as cherubim and seraphim.  It is instead about elephants and clams called Angel Wings and how they teach people a valuable lesson.

Elephants are massive animals with great physical strength; however, they are easily restricted.   When a fence that is only a few inches high encloses elephants, the elephants restrict their movements.

Even though elephants could easily use their great physical strength to trample and cross the fence, they behave as though there is a huge, fortified wall that keeps them hemmed in.  Massive elephants have the power and the possibility to crush small and large fences, but it only takes a small fence to restrict them.

Like elephants, Angel Wing clams are powerful; however, these clams are miniscule in comparison to massive elephants.  Even though Angel Wing clams are very small, these tiny clams can do what seems impossible for their size.

They drill their way through rock where they enclose themselves like caterpillars in cocoons.  By their own choice, Angel Wing clams restrict themselves inside small worlds that fit snugly about them.

The lesson of hope that Angel Wing clams might teach restricted elephants and people is that size does not decide restriction or possibility.  Thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors decide possibilities and restrictions.

Even though people’s strength, resources, ability, etc., are small–like Angel Wing clams–people can with continued, persistent determination do what seems impossible.

Like the Angel Wing clams who choose their restricted, small worlds, people can choose how large they want to make their worlds.

However, people are often more like powerful, fenced elephants who unknowingly have restricted themselves inside small, fence-enclosed worlds.

By enclosing and restricting themselves with self-limiting thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors, people unknowingly hinder their growth and freedom of movement–mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, or financially.

The fences in people’s small worlds keep them captive and alienated from the vastness and resources of Creation that could easily be within their reach.

To create a larger world, people often have to reach the point in their lives about which Anaïs Nin wrote: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

To blossom, grow, and enlarge their worlds, sometimes people have to risk moving beyond their self-imposed thoughts, beliefs, and behavior parameters.

Then, we must also take into account the times when others’ fences keep people from enlarging their respective worlds.  There is a wonderful poem, “Outwitted” by Edwin Markham, that tells people what to do when that happens:

“He drew a circle that shut me out-

Heretic , rebel, a thing to flout.

But LOVE and I had the wit to win:

We drew a circle and took him In!”

How big is your world?  What fences or self-imposed boundaries or parameters are restricting your life?  What self-limiting thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors do you need to risk moving beyond to enlarge your world?

Who has fenced you out of their world that you and LOVE can take into the larger circle of your world?

In the YouTube video below, there is another story about the training of elephants that relates to self-limiting behaviors.  I hope you enjoy it.

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A Hope from Candlemas

Halfway between the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, and the spring equinox, February 2nd is celebrated as Candlemas.  During the days when there were no electric lights, Candlemas was a festival of hope for light.

It was a festival during which candles were blessed in hope that there would be enough candlelight to make it through the dark nights of the remaining winter days.

On February 2nd all the candles, which were used by the early Christian church and candles from people’s homes, were brought into the church.  Then, during a special festival or mass, a priest said a prayer of blessing over them; thus, the name Candlemas.

Within the Christian community, Candlemas is also known as The Festival of Lights.  The Festival of Lights is celebrated as the time of Mary’s purification and the presentation of Jesus at the temple, forty days after his birth.

Candlemas is still celebrated in many churches and countries around the world.  In Poland, the candles brought from home are decorated with symbols and ribbons.

In Poland Candlemas is called “Mother of God Who Saves Us From Thunder,” Swieto Matki Boskiej Gromnicznej.  In Hungary Candlemas is called the “Blessing of the Candle of the Happy Woman,” Gyertyazsenteio Boidog Asszony.  In Germany, it is Lichtmess, and in France it is La Chandeleur Fete de la Lumiere.

Romans and Celts regarded February as the start of spring.  February comes from februa, which means cleansing or purification, and Candlemas became known as the time of the washing of the earth’s face.

People in Western Europe believed that Candlemas was the time when the ground first awakened.  On Candlemas, they prepared their fields for the first planting and later impregnation of seed.

Because Candlemas has always been associated with fire, some people celebrate the Candlemas tradition of cleaning out their fireplaces, lighting a new fire, and sitting around the fireplace and discussing their hopes for the coming year.

Traditionally, Candlemas is a time of new beginnings…a time to celebrate all things new.  It is the dawn of the year, the time of germination.

Candlemas is a time to hope, dream, and live with expectancy of renewal.   What are your hopes and dreams?  What do you expect to be renewed in your life?

If you received Kate Kresse’s Candlelighter’s Award, take another look at it and what the award represents.  Bless your Candlelighter Award and the light within you.

May you be blessed with light throughout the rest of the winter and the coming year.  May light shine in, through, and around you.  May you be a light in someone’s darkness.

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A Hope for Freedom

One of the hopes mentioned in the Hope Unites Globally HUG Award Guidelines is the hope for freedom for all citizens of the world.

U.S. National Freedom Day

February 1, 2012, is U.S. National Freedom Day.  It is a day that celebrates hope, freedom from oppression, and equality for all U.S. citizens.

The U.S. celebrates its National Freedom Day while other places in the world such as Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria are still struggling for their freedom from oppression.

The official U.S. National Freedom Day began subsequent to June 30, 1948, after U.S. President Harry Truman signed a bill, which proclaimed February 1st as U.S. National Freedom Day.

February 1, 1865, was the date U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signed a joint resolution that proposed the 13th amendment to the United States Constitution.  On December 18, 1865, the 13th amendment that outlawed slavery was ratified.

A former slave, Major Richard Robert Wright Senior, founded the National Freedom Day Association.  Major Wright was a Philadelphia community leader who was active in politics, business, education, and media.

Because he wanted to see a day dedicated to celebrating freedom for all Americans, Major Wright Senior played a large part in creating the future observance of the U.S. National Freedom Day.

Although the U.S. National Freedom Day was not yet a law, the first commemoration of it began on February 1, 1942.  This is also when a tradition began for laying a wreath at the Liberty Bell.

Tunisia Continues Its Fight for Freedom

After twenty-three years of dictatorship, Tunisia was the first Arab country to overthrow its dictator.  Tunisia overthrew Zine al-Abidene Ben Ali; and, in October 2011, Tunisians voted freely for the first time.

Tunisia is now in the process of freeing itself from many years of oppression and injustice.

A newly gained freedom of expression allows young people to take part in the country’s evolution.  At the present time, Tunisian students are on hunger strike over their right to wear niqab in classes.

Egypt Awaits New Constitution

A year ago Egypt’s dictatorship fell; and since then, there has been an Egyptian struggle for power between revolutionaries, Islamists, and the army.  Egypt is currently awaiting the drafting of a new Constitution that its new parliament must start.

The new Egyptian Constitution will decide:  1.   whether Egypt will be governed by a presidential or prime ministerial system; 2.  whether Egypt will be governed by secular or Islāmic law; 3) the framework for civil-military relations.

New Libyan Regime Continues Abuse, Torture, and Execution

The Libyan Gaddafi regime, which relied heavily upon torture, was overthrown after Gaddafi had been in power for forty-two years.  On October 20, 2011, when Muammar Gaddafi was killed, Libyans proclaimed that day as their independence day.

The new Libyan regime, however, continues to brutalize many Libyans and others.  Statistics from the United Nations show that 8,000 prisoners held in 60 detention centers across Libya are suffering widespread abuse, torture, and sometimes execution.

Doctors Without Borders left Libya due to claims that authorities were torturing detainees.   Doctors Without Borders and other charities are calling for a human rights revolution in Libya.

Amnesty International and other human rights and humanitarian groups are calling for the ceasing of Libyan abuse.

Syrian Youth Use Social Media In Their Fight for Freedom

Syrian youth are using social media such as Facebook in their fight for freedom.  They have been instrumental in spearheading a mass uprising in Syria, and many Syrians are now living against the back-drop of a civil war.

Unrest continues in many parts of the world as people continue to demonstrate, struggle, and fight for their freedom.  Let us all hope that freedom will ring throughout the world!

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Hope Unites Globally HUG Awards’ Update

Two weeks ago, on January 14, 2012, I (Connie Wayne) at A Hope for Today initiated the Hope Unites Globally HUG Award.

I want to express my sincere gratitude for the many, wonderful people who have, by accepting the HUG Award, become a part of a diverse group of people with a plethora of different lifestyles, careers, talents, cultures, nationalities, and ethnic and spiritual backgrounds.

The one thing that HUG Award recipients have in common is they are wonderful, talented, loving people who are doing their part to keep hope alive and make the world a better place to live.

People, WordPress blogs, and other blogs and websites have received the HUG Award,  but the HUG Award has also traveled outside the Internet world to ministers, speakers, musicians, and others.  (The HUG Award is not limited to WordPress blogs.)

In addition, because I have visited several of the nominees’ Internet sites, I am aware of some of the places around the globe where the HUG Award has traveled.  I can truthfully say, “Hope Unites Globally!”

I have received so many encouraging, positive responses from HUG Award recipients.  Many have expressed their heart-felt appreciation and honor in receiving the HUG Award.  Some have even expressed their appreciation for my creation of such a positive award.

One of my favorite comments was in an article a gentleman posted on his Internet site upon his receipt of the HUG Award.  I believe he captured the true essence of the HUG Award when he said:

“I must admit to not being very good at responding to award nominations… I generally find myself busy doing and writing about other things to pick up the baton. However, I feel that the HUG award deserves a prompt response as it clearly has intentions to improve the world we live in by encouraging understanding and compassion amongst people of all races, colours, creeds, etc.”

I know that some of the HUG Award nominees have not been informed yet of their nomination.  I am sure people realize it is too large a task for me to notify all these folks, however, I eventually hope to visit each of their Internet sites and congratulate them on their nomination.

If you received a HUG Award, and you informed me of others you nominated for the award, please make sure you also informed your nominees.

Not all HUG Award nominees are HUG Award recipients.  Some HUG Award nominees have not yet accepted the HUG Award.  Again, they possibly are not aware of their nomination for the award.  Others are not interested in the HUG Award, or awards in general.

And, because the HUG Award is a thought-provoking award, which causes people to be honest with themselves, some people honestly do not believe they deserve the HUG Award.

Because the HUG Award is more than just a blog award, it has challenged people to think about whether they agree with the HUG Award Guidelines at http://ahopefortoday.com/2012/01/14/hope-unites-globally-hug-award-guidelines/.

I encourage people to follow the HUG Award Guidelines for accepting and sharing the HUG Award because, as the award is perpetuated, I do not want it to lose its integrity.  I want all current and future Hug Award nominees and recipients to know what an honor it is to receive the award.

It is my sincere hope that all those who accept the HUG Award understand, appreciate, and work toward living up to the “hopes” in the HUG Award.

If you believe you meet the Guidelines and would like to receive the HUG Award, please visit the Guideline page and leave me a comment.  If you would like to nominate someone else for the HUG Award, please follow the same procedure.

By no later than Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2012, I plan to have a page posted at http://ahopefortoday.com/hug-award-nominees/ on A Hope for Today (http://ahopefortoday.com) that will have an up-to-date list of people and/or sites that are HUG Award nominees.  The page will list only the HUG Award nominees, because I have not verified HUG Award recipients.

The only way I know someone has received the HUG Award is when he/she leaves a comment on the HUG Award Guidelines post.  By a HUG Award recipient nominating just one person for the HUG Award, I become aware that he/she has accepted the HUG Award.

I appreciate your patience with me while I try to capture as many of the HUG Award nominees as possible.  I would rather do a page of HUG Award recipients, but HUG Award nominees will have to do for now.

Blessings, Connie Wayne

A Hope from Biscuits and Birds

I met her, the woman who later received hope from biscuits and birds, when she came to the office where I worked.

She had a driver’s license, but she did not drive.  But, for weeks before his death, her husband had taught her to drive the short distance from their home to our office.

He insisted that, if something happened to him, she must drive to our office, because he was certain that our office was where she would find the help and hope she would need.

The woman was clearly distraught and wanted to die.  As a matter of fact, she planned to die.  She was going to go home and start giving away all her possessions.  It was clear that she did not want to live without her husband.

It had been two weeks since the woman’s husband had died, and her overwhelming grief had taken away her appetite.  And it had been over two weeks since she had eaten anything.

Even though I already had determined the woman was not eligible for any of the services our organization provided, I spent some time talking to her, trying to comfort her, and I encouraged her not to go home and give her things away.  I also encouraged her to go home and eat something, but she resisted.

Then, I asked her if she had a back yard, and she said, “Yes.”  I asked her if she had any birds, and she said, “Yes,”  but she clearly did not understand why I was asking her about birds.

Because I love nature and know how therapeutic it is, I suggested she go home, sit in her back yard, enjoy the beautiful sunshine, and watch the birds.  Then I asked her if she had anything she could feed the birds.

“Well, yeah,” she said, “I have some biscuits.”  I encouraged her to go home and feed the birds some biscuits, and I urged her to eat a biscuit while she fed the birds.  She agreed, “Well yeah, I guess I could do that.”

Since she had agreed to eat a biscuit, I took my suggestion one step further, and I asked her if she had any protein she could put on her biscuit.  “I’ve got some cheese,” she said.  “That will do,” I responded.  Why don’t you put a piece of cheese on your biscuit and eat it, while you feed the birds?”

At that exact moment, her face brightened, her eyes lit up, and she said, “How did you know? How did you know? That’s what my husband always told me to eat when I was not feeling well.  He always told me to eat a biscuit with cheese.”

It was then that the woman decided she had heard from God, and her husband had been “right” to teach her to drive to our office.  She had heard what she thought she needed to hear.

I later learned that the woman went home, fed the birds, ate a biscuit with cheese, did not sell her belongings, and went on living without her husband.

Did God use biscuits and birds to give a woman hope, when she needed hope the most?

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A Hope Like Cooked Eggs

People who seek hope for today are people who need a hope for today that is like cooked eggs.  People need today’s hope articles to be presented in different ways to help them seize the day/carpe diem.

Some who seek hope and inspiration for today, need a hope similar to “sunny side up or eggs up.”

Others need a hope for today similar to “over easy or sunny side down” eggs.  Others need a more comprehensive hope for today message.

Then there are those who like a scrambled combination of A Hope for Today articles.

On any given day, however, the same person may want eggs cooked differently than they were cooked yesterday.  Yesterday a person may have wanted “sunny side up” eggs, and today that same person may want “sunny side down” eggs.  That is also true of those who seek a hope for today.  From day-to-day, people’s needs for hope change.

When I recently took a personal inventory of A Hope for Today articles, I found articles that correspond with, what I call, “a hope similar to cooked eggs.”

“SUNNY SIDE UP” ARTICLES

“Sunny side up” articles are for people who seek a hope for today as a “pick me up” to cheer them and help them start their day on a bright, happy note.  These articles often have a somewhat whimsical title:

A Hope for Happy Feet and Dancing Shoes; A Hope for the Exciting; A Hope from Bozo the Bop Bag; A Hope for Chicken Little; A Hope in a New Sunrise; A Hope That is Contagious:  Enthusiasm; A Hope in Sauntering; A Hope from the Fabric of Our Lives

“SUNNY SIDE DOWN or OVER EASY” ARTICLES

Those who have personal problems sometimes have a “sunny side down” day. They need more than a “sunny side up hope.”  They need a gentle, light instructional message of hope that includes a possible “how to” in it.

Even though A Hope for Today articles never give people specific instructions on how to believe or how to live their lives, the articles do include some “over easy” or light instructional “how to” information on some important life issues:

A Hope for Success; A Hope in Failure; A Hope for Wholeness; A Hope from a Ridge-Pole:  Balance; A Hope for More Than Human Tensile Strength; A Hope from a Couch Potato: Stillness; A Hope for Guidance; A Hope for Renewal; A Hope for Joy and Gladness; A Hope for Last Year’s Husks; A Hope from a Wisdom Marinade; A Hope for Escaping Bitterness: A Hope to “Carpe Diem,” Seize the Day; A Hope for Getting Out of the Pits; A Hope During a Recession; A Hope for An Empty Pot:  Usefulness; A Hope in Gratitude; A Hope for the Rainy Day Blues; A Hope in Darkness; A Hope for the Lonely; A Hope for Progress.

MORE COMPREHENSIVE HOPE ARTICLES

Then there are those who search for hope beyond a “sunny side up” or a “sunny side down” hope.  They search for a comprehensive hope that is inclusive of all humanity.  They search for a hope for pressing global issues–a hope to understand, unite, and become a part of the solution for the world’s problems.  These articles are tough articles that challenge people to think deeply and react to some of the world’s pressing needs:

A Hope for Moral Courage; A Hope That Ripples; A Hope from Sandpipers:  Unity; A Hope for A Connected Life: Global Unity; A Hope in Human Diversity; A Hope for Water; A Hope from a Hummingbird; Hope Unites Globally; Hope Unites Globally- HUG Award Guidelines.

SCRAMBLED ARTICLES on HOPE

Scrambled articles on hope can belong in several different categories of hope, or they may be in a group all by themselves:

A Hope from a Windchime; A Hope in “Just a Minute;” A Hope for American Government; A Hope for Worship; A Hope in a Greeting, Word or Phrase; A Hope from Chinese New Year Celebration; A Hope from Winter:  More Light; A Hope Through Heaven’s Eyes; A Hope Upon Awakening.

Whatever type of hope you seek, it is my sincere desire that you will stop by A Hope for Today and find an article that can give you a hope for today.

A Hope for Moral Courage

Former U.S. President John F. Kennedy said, “The stories of past courage can define that ingredient–they can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul.”

I believe the courage to which President Kennedy referred was the moral courage that Author Ernest Hemingway wrote about in A Farewell to Arms.  He wrote about this rare, moral courage of the soul when he said:

“Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society.

Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence.

Yet it is the one essential, vital quality of those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change.”

Mark Twain said, “It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.”

In our current war-torn, disaster-struck, economically declining world, which is yielding most painfully to change, there is a great need for people with rare, moral courage–people who will stand up and say, “Count me in…

I want to do my part to help change the world and make it a better place for all humanity.  I will hope, pray, and strive to gain a moral courage that is greater than the disapproval, censure, and wrath of society.”

The following YouTube video explains the difference between physical courage and moral courage:

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