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.”

###

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 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 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 in “Just A Minute”

How many times have you heard yourself or someone else say, “Just a minute.”  If given just one more minute, people hope to do a plethora of different things, which they apparently believe can be accomplished in “just a minute.”

I suppose that is why there are so many authors who have written books about what can be accomplished in just a minute:

The One Minute Manager, The One Minute Entrepreneur, The One Minute Millionaire, The One Minute Apology, One Minute Wellness, One Minute Reader, One Minute Bedtime Stories, etc.

So, what is the true value of just a minute?  Simply answered, people are born in a minute, live minute-by-minute, and die in a minute, and the value people place on the minutes in their lives can only be determined by them.

Kevin Welch said, “There’ll be two dates on your tombstone and all your friends will read them.  But all that is going to matter is that little dash between them.”

Art Rainer similarly said, “On each grave marker is a dash between two years. The dash is time, and that is where we are, in our dash. And before there is some year placed on the other end, we need to figure this thing out.”

Some authors have tried to help people “figure this thing out” by writing books such as The Power of Now and Be Here Now, etc. These writings are profound; but, very simply stated, the dash between the two dates on a tombstone represent a few or a multitude of minutes filled with hope.  How people use those minutes filled with hope is their choice.

“Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the thousand small uncaring ways.”…Stephen Vincent Benet

“Since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour.”…Benjamin Franklin

“The only way to live is to accept each minute as an unrepeatable miracle, which is exactly what it is; a miracle and unrepeatable.”…Storm Jameson

“Two things are as big as the man who possesses them–neither bigger nor smaller.  One is a minute, the other a dollar.”…Channing Pollock

“I lose my temper, but it’s all over in a minute,” said the student.  “So is the hydrogen bomb,” I replied.  “But think of the damage it produces!”…Spencer Tracy

“For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty-seconds of happiness.”…Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Don’t waste a minute not being happy.  If one window closes, run to next window–or break down a door.”…Brooke Shields

“Time needs another minute.”…Sly Stone

“Man as long as he lives, is immortal.  One minute before his death he shall be immortal.  But one minute later, God wins.”…  E. Wiesel

“I’m terrified about the day that I enter the gates of heaven and God says to me, just a minute.”…Maureen O’Hara

 

 

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For a list of twenty things that can happen in one minute, visit http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2010/01/30/20-things-that-happen-in-1-minute-graphic/.

For those who have seen the movie Forrest Gump, the following YouTube video is the summary of his entire life.  It proves that “Life is but a vapor…here today and gone tomorrow.”  So please enjoy and make the most of the minutes you have.

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Hope Unites Globally

Free Internet resources and tools have helped me receive early blog confirmations to support my belief that hope unites globally.

“Thank You” to WordPress for providing me a free blog platform, which allows me to know who my blog visitors are.

“Thank You” to the people with different spiritual backgrounds–Buddhists, Eastern and Western Christians, Muslims, Taoists, Yogas, and others–who are either “liking,” “commenting,” or “following” my blog articles.  I consider this as evidence that the language of hope transcends spiritual boundaries.

“Thank You” Flag Counter for the free Flag Counter I recently inserted on my blog.  I consider the stats from The Flag Counter as evidence that the universal language of hope transcends global boundaries.

At the same time I am embarrassed for not remembering where countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia are located, I am humbled that people in countries that far away are reading something I have written about hope.

Even though this website/blog is only about six weeks old, I have met so many wonderful, new blogging friends.  “Thank You” blogging friends.

Thanks to the free Internet resources, tools, and friends I have met, I have been able to learn some of the spiritual and global boundaries, I believe, the “universal language of hope” in A Hope for Today’s articles has crossed.

I am so thankful for the early confirmations of my belief that hope unites globally.  It encourages me to do even more to spread the message of hope to all citizens of the world.

That is why I have created a Hope Unites Globally HUG Award© for people who are embracing and hugging the world with hope.  Be sure to read my next post about the Hope Unites Globally HUG Award©.

I would really appreciate comments from people of different spiritual beliefs about how they also believe that “hope” crosses spiritual and global boundaries.

A Hope in Failure

A hope in failure is a hope that we never give up.

A hope in failure is a hope to learn

from our mistakes, and keep trying to succeed.

A hope in failure is when we “Don’t Quit.”

Please enjoy the YouTube video below of the inspirational poem “Don’t Quit.”

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A Hope in Human Diversity

Because of my love for diverse colors, foods, clothing styles, music, books, art, nature, and eclectic household decor, I believe my life is similar to a kaleidoscope with its many beautiful colors and intricate, changing patterns.

Because I also love learning about different nationalities, cultures, and ethnicities, I wish I could have been a participant in The Human Library Project in Toronto, Canada. about which I recently read.

The Human Library Project was held on November 6, 2010, at the Bloor/Gladstone library branch of the Toronto Public Library, the world’s largest public library.

I wish I could have been among those who used their library cards to check out a volunteer “book” for a half-hour.  I could have had a very personal, one-on-one conversation with several different people from different backgrounds whose lives make good reading.

The first Human Library Project began in Copenhagen about ten years ago.  Its purpose was to help break down prejudice among people of diverse backgrounds.

I believe the Human Library Project and other similar cultural diversity projects may go a long way toward helping people appreciate, accept, and include God’s diverse human creation in their lives.

Children and youth study Biology, Botany, Zoology, Geography, and Astrology in school, which help give them an appreciation and understanding of the diversity in the natural world:  flowers, plants, trees, animals, insects, seasons, stars and planets, oceans, rivers, streams, and geological regions.

As adults most people have learned to appreciate and enjoy diverse foods, which are already included in their diets:  German sauerkraut, Italian spaghetti, Irish potatoes, English Tea, Danish pastry, Swiss cheese, Mexican tacos, etc..

But for some reason, some people still have difficulty appreciating, accepting, enjoying, and including God’s diverse human creation in their lives.

If local libraries and/or schools cannot emulate the Human Library Project, possibly people can find their own ways to educate themselves about human diversity by becoming more familiar with people from different backgrounds.

Some of the people with diverse nationalities, ethnicities, and backgrounds are neighbors, co-workers, or fellow students.  They may welcome an opportunity to share with you personally or share with a group or organization to which you belong.

In my opinion, it is way past time for all people to accept, appreciate, enjoy, include, and actually find hope in human diversity.

A Hope for Renewal

Many Romans have already started the new year with anticipation and hope for renewal by ridding themselves of the old.

They have done this, not in a symbolic way such as making New Year’s resolutions, but by pitching out the window old things such as clothing, furniture, cracked dishes, and household accoutrements.

Therefore, on New Year’s Eve, many people stayed in their houses or motels for fear of something possibly falling on their heads.

Religions and spiritual concepts teach the value of renewing the mind, spirit, and body.  The new year is an ideal time to make a holistic evaluation of our lives.

It is also an ideal time to start fresh by discarding old, tired, negative thought patterns, renewing our spiritual lives, and initiating healthier eating and exercise  habits.  It is a time to decide what we can do to make ourselves mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually fit.

I always have loved the scripture in the Bible from the book of Isaiah, which relates to the renewal of spirit and “mounting up on wings as eagles.”

Now that I am older, I love the scripture even more because I have learned more about the life cycle of eagles.

I loved reading, what is considered by many, a myth about how an aging eagle renews itself during the process of old-age moulting.

Have you ever had nail-biting, hair-pulling, beat-your-head-against the-wall  life experiences after which you desperately needed renewal?

If so, you will enjoy watching the YouTube video below.  The YouTube video was made from a PowerPoint presentation, which has to be read.

You may realize, as I did, that in our older physical and spiritual years, we can renew and “mount up on new wings as eagles.”  We can still fly high and strong and accomplish far more than we previously may have thought possible.

Two of My Neighbor blogs are a health site and a holistic healing energy site.  You may want to visit their sites via the links on My Neighbor page above.

There are also some good My Neighbor blogs for religion, spiritual living, and inspiration.  These Neighbor blogs may help give you some additional ideas to help start your new year in a positive way.

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A Hope for a Connected Life: Global Unity

In 1954, Albert Einstein spoke about a hope for a connected life when he said:

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.

This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.

Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

In the book The Color Purple, the character of Celie had a wonderful epiphany of what a connected life is, when she said:

“One day when I was sitting quiet and feeling like a motherless child, which I was, it come to me:  that feeling of being part of everything, not separate at all.  I knew that if I cut a tree, my arm would bleed.”

Like Albert Einstein said in the above quotation, Celie’s epiphany “widened her circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature.”

The Native Americans use a phrase, Mitakuye Oyasinto express the thought that all creation are relatives, and we are all one.  Chief Seattle said, “We are all connected and whatever happens to the Earth, it will happen to the children of the Earth.”  Lakota Holy Man Black Elk said:

 “Peace…comes within the souls of men and women when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the Universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the Universe dwells Wakan Tanka (the Creator), and that this center is really everywhere. It is within each of us.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. explained:

“We are tied together in the single garment of destiny… and for some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.  To reach our potential, we must be mutually supportive of one another.”

To hope for a connected life is to hope for a life connected to the Creator, to ourselves, to all people, to the natural world and rhythms around us.  It is a hope for the oneness of all Creation, as well as a hope to reach our potential by being mutually supportive of one another.


Copied from Moment of Love Website at http://www.momentoflove.org/

The brief statement below reminds us of the common humanity we share with all people in our world. Take a moment to read these words slowly and drink in the beautiful message here. By choosing to focus less on what divides us, and more on what unites us, we can more effectively build a brighter future for us all.


Every person in the world has a heart.

Every heart has a place within that wants only to love and be loved.

Let us connect with that place of love in our own heart

and in the hearts of all around us.

Let us take a moment now to open to the heart connection

we share with all people through love.

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A Hope for Last Year’s Husks

Last year is gone, leaving in its wake a menagerie of “husks,”  

for which there is yet hope. 

“Wherever there are bright new wings, there’s always the ‘husk of waiting’ somewhere in the corner,” says author Sue Monk Kidd in reference to the spiritual art of cocooning.

Life is full of cocoons.  We die and are reborn again and again.

Therefore, there are always discarded “husks of waiting,” in the corners of our lives.  There is hope, however, for the further usefulness of these husks if, instead of leaving them in the corners of our lives, we celebrate them as trophies and give them a place of honor in our lives.

Then, every time we view our husks as trophies, they can remind us of our triumphs, and we can remember what we discarded, created, gained, or learned while we lived in our “husks of waiting.”  We can also celebrate the metamorphosis or the transformation of life that occurred and the new life that emerged from those husks.

“If I have inside me the stuff to make cocoons, maybe the stuff of butterflies is there too.”

Taking Trina Paulus’ quotation one step further, I say, “If I have inside me the stuff to make cocoons and butterflies, maybe the stuff to make trophies from the cocoons is there too.”

Even though cocoons or husks often represent dark or negative times in my life; nonetheless, they were a part of my life, and I try to celebrate and honor all parts of my life by attaching positive outcomes to negative experiences.  That is why I like the idea of transforming husks into trophies.

Here is a short list of “husk of waiting” trophies:

Husk of Mistakes Trophy:  Knowledge emerged from my mistakes.

Husk of Failures Trophy:  Triumph and success emerged out of my failures.

Husk of Shortcomings Trophy:  Self-forgiveness emerged from my shortcomings.

Husk of Sorrow Trophy:  Sorrow gave me a greater knowledge and appreciation of joy.

Husk of Grief or Loss Trophy:  Compassion and empathy emerged from grief and loss.

Husk of Fears Trophy:  Faith emerged out of the husks of fear.

Husk of Suffering and Pain Trophy:  Comfort and/or healing emerged out of suffering and pain.

Husk of Poverty Trophy:  Gratitude emerged out of periods of poverty.

As well as many other people, I still have a few 2011 “husks of waiting” in my life.  In 2012, I not only want to emerge transformed from these husks, but I hope for a day soon when I can drag the husks out of the corners of my life and honor them.

I hope to transform my “husks of waiting” into trophies that serve, in the new year and my new life, as reminders of their meaningful and useful purpose.

Have you learned the purpose for any of your “husks of waiting,” which you are willing to share with readers?  If so, I hope you will share about it in the Comment Section below, or you also could leave a comment to let me know you read and enjoyed the article.

Happy New Year, Connie

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A Hope from a Windchime

I have learned to have awareness and appreciation of the simple things in life that give me strength, peace, and hope for today when I need it the most.

I had such an awareness and appreciation during my recent experience with a windchime.

After my sister suffered a heart attack, I slept on a cot in her hospital room for several days; and, needless to say, I slept very little and very lightly.  Later, while my sister recuperated at home, I stayed with her for several more days.

At my sister’s house I was able to sleep more; but, because I wanted to hear her if she got up during the night, I still slept very lightly.  Amazingly, however, I slept very peacefully.

I owe the peaceful sleep to the neighbor’s windchime, which was like a Tibetan singing bowl that hummed throughout the night, resonating with my spirit, to entrain me into a semi-meditative trance.

Whether awake, asleep, or somewhere between, I was aware of a soothing tranquility that tiptoed into my bedroom and enveloped me with calmness and peace.

The slow, peaceful, rhythmic movement of the windchime created a melodic lullaby that embraced and hushed me to sleep, over and over again.

Somehow I was consciously aware that the windchime mesmerized and held me in its magical sway.  As it lulled me into a calm rest that my body needed, even though my mind resisted, it soothed and hypnotized me with whispers of strength, peace, and hope.

Every night, as a heavenly breeze animated the windchime, it was as if I heard God breathing outside my bedroom window.   The gentle breath of God repeatedly stirred the windchime to make it dance and sing its beautiful, magical lullaby throughout the night.

The windchime faithfully sang every night, all night, like a mother singing a lullaby to her sick child:  “Sleep my child, and peace attend thee, all through the night.  Guardian angels God will send thee, all through the night. “

And every night the peaceful lullaby resonated in my spirit to remind me that I could calmly rest, renew my strength, and have hope for my sister’s full recovery.

The windchime was not as large as the one in the following YouTube video, but it had a smaller, similar sound.  Listen, and you will understand how God used a simple windchime to give me hope for today when I needed it the most.

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A Hope for More Than Human Tensile Strength

Tensile strength is the greatest amount of stretching a material can withstand before it tears.  Sometimes people’s only hope for today is to have a tensile strength that helps them safely, without breaking or tearing, make it through the circumstances or events of the day.

On those days when life takes people by surprise and presents them with an unexpected challenge, crisis, disease, or death, people need a strong, inner, tensile strength.

Because mere human tensile strength is weak and susceptible to breaking or tearing, people need a strength that is stronger than their own.

Two days ago, on Christmas Eve, I faced a family crisis for which I needed strength greater than my own.  Late in the evening, I received a call from my brother-in-law, who informed me that my sister was in the emergency room of the hospital.

As I hurried to the hospital, only five blocks away from my house, I began to cry and pray for my sister.  I was totally distraught; however, upon entering the hospital door, an amazing calm overtook me.

By the time I reached her bedside, I was able to calm my sister who was highly disoriented, anxious, and showing signs of a stroke or heart attack.

After my sister and I spent Christmas Eve night in a freezing cold emergency room, the hospital admitted her on Christmas Day.  Later that day, we learned that her EKG and blood work had shown evidence of a heart attack.

It is now four days later, and my sister is still in the hospital at which I have also stayed for the past four days; and, hopefully, she will be able to go home today.

While I make plans to continue to help my sister in the immediate days ahead, I am also faced with another family crisis.   My younger brother, who lives in another state, was recently diagnosed with cancer.  Tomorrow he finds out how far the cancer has spread throughout his body, and on January 9th he has surgery.

I am the middle child in my family, and I am now in the middle of a crisis with both my siblings.  This is a time when I need more than my own tensile strength to get me through the days ahead.

Physically, mentally, and emotionally tired, I am aware of a spiritual strength within me that is empowering me to cope with my current family crisis.  I know that inner strength is Spirit-might, which is greater than my own tensile strength.

When I returned home today for breakfast, a brief rest, and fresh clothing to go back to the hospital or to my sister’s house,  I discovered that a fellow blogger and new friend, who had no awareness of my current family situation, had nominated me for the Candle Lighter Award.

I learned from her blog that “The Candle Lighter Award belongs to those who believe, who always survive the day and those who never stop dreaming, for those who cannot quit, for those who keep trying.”

Thank you Woman at the Well for allowing God to use you and the Candle Lighter Award to confirm the Spirit-strength that never breaks or tears.  I face the days ahead with new and greater strength.

A Hope from a Wisdom Marinade

Amidst all the challenges, choices, and decisions in life, who among us does not hope for wisdom? Wisdom, however, does not always come easily. There are a lot of very knowledgeable people, but many fewer wise people.

Why? Because wisdom is not knowledge learned.  Wisdom is knowledge earned because a person has lived it.

KNOWLEDGE EARNED:  We may often envy other people’s wisdom; but, upon closer observation of their lives, we may not envy what they have experienced to earn that wisdom.

AUTHENTIC LIVING:  Actress Jane Fonda said, “You can’t really be wise until you are authentic.”  Becoming real or authentic is a process, so wisdom is earned by process living.  To earn the knowledge to become wise, sometimes a person must go through a process of pain, suffering, or loss.

In the children’s book The Velveteen Rabbit, by Marjery Williams Bianco, the Velveteen Rabbit describes the process of becoming authentic or real:

Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly…”

Author Sarah Ban Breathnach has written much about authentic living, and she said, “An authentic life is the most personal form of worship.  Everyday life has become my prayer.”

LETTING GO:  Again speaking about wisdom, Jane Fonda also said, “Wisdom is knowing what you don’t need anymore and letting it go.”

To become wise, people must be willing to let go of old knowledge, beliefs, behaviors, dogmas, and doctrines that no longer align with their authentic life and truth.  That same wisdom also helps people simplify life by letting go of possessions and relationships they no longer need.

AWE or REVERENCE for the CREATOR:  The Bible offers yet another definition for wisdom:  “The fear (the awe or reverence) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

A WISDOM MARINADE:  Author Marianne Williamson offered a very insightful definition of wisdom when she wrote:

“Wisdom is like marinade. First you take what a book said, or what a teacher said, and then you mix it with your own ideas. Then you add experience and pour in a few buckets of tears.  Add memories of lost love, a pinch of personal humiliation and a teaspoon of deep regrets. Add to that a cup of courage. Leave it to soak for a few years and–voilà!–darn it if you have not become wise.”

Following Marianne Williamson’s advice, I mixed together what I have learned and written about wisdom with what she, Jane Fonda, Sarah Ban Breathnach, and the Bible said about authenticity and wisdom.

Voilà!–a new marinade for wisdom.  I think I will post this recipe, this marinade for wisdom, on my refrigerator door:

A HOPE FOR WISDOM IS A HOPE TO:

1) live in awe or reverence of the Creator

2) live knowledge earned from experience

3) live and let go of what is not needed anymore

4) live an authentic life

5) live personal form of worship and everyday life that becomes prayer

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I hope you enjoy the YouTube video below of Jane Fonda’s interview about wisdom.

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A Hope from Bozo, the Bop Bag: Resiliency

Punch him, slap him, whack him, or smack him, and Bozo the Clown Bop Bag amazingly wobbles back into his original, upright position.

Bozo’s hope for speedy recovery is his resiliency.  No matter how many times Bozo gets knocked down, he springs back up and lands on his feet.

How can Bozo be so resilient?  He is resilient because he has a weighted bottom that helps him stay centered and grounded.

How many times has life punched you in the face, slapped you upside the head, and knocked you down?  If you are like me, you probably learned that resiliency is not always easy during those times.

Like Bozo the Bop Bag, however, we are also designed with a center and an inner stabilizing power.  Our inner power of faith is the weight, the anchor that helps us stay resilient during the difficult times in life.

Find your center, ground yourself there, and cling to the anchor of your faith. Then, like Bozo the Bop Bag, you have hope for resiliency and recovery from difficult times.

The Japanese Daruma Doll is much like the Bozo Bop Bag.  It is a roly-poly doll with no arms or legs.  It has the same resiliency as the Bozo Bop Bag, and it is a special doll for the New Year.  Children can make Daruma Dolls from plastic Easter eggs or old egg-shaped, plastic pantyhose containers.

Simply mix two tablespoons of Plaster of Paris with two tablespoons of water and pour into bottom half of the plastic container.  Fasten the container halves together with tape, and then let children draw faces on them with marking pens.  Parents can use these to teach children about resiliency.

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