The Gift Of Hope

Image by Rebecca at Altared Spaces. When my brother was dying, Rebecca sent me this photo showing me she was burning a candle for my brother and she was breathing for me when I felt unable. I was grateful for this act of kindness as it filled my heart with hope.

Where do we find hope?

We feel it in the fingers outstretched to pick us up when we have fallen.

We see it in the smile of the homeless woman pushing her cart through the mist as the early morning sun warms her back.

We hear it in the whisper of wind as it curves its way through the tree limbs.

We taste it as the first snowflakes of winter melt against the heat of our tongues.

We smell it in the earthy aroma of cedar, pine, and moss as they caress one another in the forest.

The sight of flaming vigil candles provide comfort and release to those who care.

We share the glimmer of a child’s eyes as his bat meets the ball and sends it soaring through the air.

The outstretched lip of words escaping the soul turns to song and stirs our hearts.

Flesh that wipes away another’s tears absorbs the sadness and helps carry the load.

The sway of dance that moves one to action becomes a ripple in the pond.

An open palm of acceptance, a belonging, is priceless.

Hope felt is personal. Hope expressed has the potential to be global.

Hope of the heart is meant to be shared.

Give the gift of a kind word, smile, hug, or more. Be the ripple in the pond.

We’re each a part of the collective hope that spins the world one heartbeat at a time.

Information and guidelines can be found here.

It is true that as a general rule I do not accept awards. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the sentiment, but it is time consuming and selfishly I’d rather be writing or visiting other blogs and commenting. However, I am breaking my own rule. Judith at I Choose How I Will Spend The Rest Of My Life honored me with this nomination. Part of the acceptance is the nomination of another person. I am passing this along to Amy at Soul Dipper as she exemplifies the criteria of promoting hope, love, peace, equality, and unity for all people.

Living in the Gap

February 10, 2012 – Hope

In keeping with my blog theme today, I’m going to share a few moments where I saw hope in action today.

The sun peeks over the tree tops and illuminates the neighborhood.

Purple vinca blooms bend back and forth in the passing of a gentle breeze.

A two year old blows raspberries at his crying infant brother and enfolds him in his arms.

Another small child mouths incoherent (to my ears) words to her friend and smiles in an effort to join in play.

My dog wags her tail, salivates, and shifts her eyes from her feeding bowl to me and back again.

The phone rings, and alas it is NOT a telemarketer!

I receive a pleasant email that is NOT a forwarded message.

A flickering candle fills the air with the sweet scent of dune grass.

My chest rises and falls as I breathe in the day.

A Merry Christmas And A Blessed Season To You!

Christmas Tree in Chicago

Whether your décor is elegant or effortless,

your celebration extravagant or simple,

I wish you a Merry Christmas

and a Holiday Season spent with the people you love.

I pray you enjoy every moment and create wonderful memories.

I hope you are graced with the joy of giving

while exercising the capacity to receive.

May you be the Christmas spirit to strangers

and the Christmas light to those who know you.

May you be both generous and sensible.

May you have the wisdom to know what really is important

and feel the joy in the tiniest of gestures.

May your blessings be abundant.

May your time be well spent.

May you have all you need.

May you experience the true grace of this season.

May you know that you are loved beyond measure.

May you know you are blessed a million times over.

Are You On Sale?

Only when we give joyfully, without hesitation or thought of gain, can we truly know what love means. -Leo Buscaglia
We all come with a price tag. Whether we want to admit it or not. It occurs in politics, policies of organizations, churches, schools, corporations, families, and relationships. It comes in the form of bartering, bargaining, tit for tats, and you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. We compromise. We settle. We give, and we take. It’s a vicious cycle.
This time of year is considered a season of giving. Are you a selfish giver or a selfless giver? Do you give in order to receive or do you give from the goodness of your heart, not expecting anything in return?
So, what is your cost? Does it have to be monetary amount or are you willing to give yourself in time and talents? Will you sacrifice to help others? I mean will you forego that Starbucks latte and treat someone cold and hungry to a meal? Or must there be something in it for you?Giving feels good, not only to the receiver but to the giver. It feels so much better than receiving. Doesn’t it make  your heart feel good to know you’ve helped someone in need? A smile or sentiment of appreciation, or if the gift is anonymous, just knowing you’ve helped someone should lift your spirits. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a much needed and unexpected gift when times were hard, you know exactly how much your donation means.
 “Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.” -Blaise Pascal
Being kind to others cost you absolutely nothing at all. Not everyone has money to offer or material gifts to pass on, but everyone can lift others with a smile or gentle words. Manners go a long way. When I shop this time of year, I generally encounter two types of people. There are the rude ones who push others around with angry words and gestures, and there are the ones with smiles on their faces and pleasant greetings. You better believe the type I encounter definitely sets the mood that I’ll wear home. If you open a door for someone or let them go first, generally you’ll get a smile in return. Kindness is contagious! I often see people fighting over parking places. Personally, I don’t get into that kind of ruckus. I purposely park a bit farther back because I know I can use the exercise, and I’ve never found anyone fighting over those spaces!

“No vision and you perish; No Ideal, and you’re lost; Your heart must ever cherish Some faith at any cost. Some hope, some dream to cling to, Some rainbow in the sky, Some melody to sing to, Some service that is high.” – Harriet Du Autermont

I could not post about giving to others without telling you what my friend (the mother of my Godchildren), her husband, and their children, ages 4 and 2, are doing for the twenty-five days of Christmas. Every single day, they are giving of themselves, or making, buying, and delivery goods to the people in need in their community. I have to add that they have just moved to this town, and they have pushed themselves to get out in their community and make a difference. They started their first day off with the mom donating blood by her son’s request to his school’s blood drive. The children have twice bought and delivered dinner for a kind homeless man. They have bought hats, gloves, and food for a winter drive at school. They purchased and decorated small Christmas trees and delivered them to a nursing home. They delivered stockings of toothpaste, brushes, and hats to the Salvation Army. These are just a few of the things they have done. They have plans for each day, and sometimes (like dinner for the homeless man, or money being dropped into the kettle) little extras occur. I am so proud of my friends for teaching their children the love and joy of giving to others without question.

While I can’t claim to have done all these things myself this year,  I must say I am truly inspired to do more than I have. I used to do these types of things with my children when they were younger. We loved making Christmas boxes at church to send to children overseas. We did the Angel Tree gifts, and the senior gifts at the nursing homes. I admit I have not done any of those things this year or donated my time or services to any organizations. However, I usually do still make monetary donations. This year, I have an elderly friend that I want to make sure is not lonely or left out this season. And I plan to bake and deliver my usual array of goodies. Not much on the big scale of things, but I know it will bring a smile to some faces, and a certain friend’s heart will be warmed knowing she is loved and remembered this Christmas. 
Are you wearing a price tag this season or are you on special for the holidays?


Christmas Elves delivering trees to a nursing home.