prayer

Let’s Create a Flickering Fire

“Work without hope draws nectar in a sieve, and hope without an object cannot live.” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The week between Christmas and New Year’s always finds me feeling a little deflated. Like the giant blow-up characters sagging in lawns, folks turn out the lights and lay face down on the grass. We’re a little tired and need another burst of air to fill up our fragile skins. We require breath in the hope of new, good, and better in the year ahead.

For me, 2018 was packed with new things as I pursued a list of 29 things to do before I turn 30. I made big resolutions and dipped my toes out of my comfort zone.

My resolution for 2019? Just eat breakfast.

Sure, I’ve got big dreams waiting in the wings, yet I bat my hands at the spidery myth that living in the space of ‘next’ will be better than whatever this season provides. I know I never arrive.

I believe beauty in the imperfect will serve our messy world right here, wherever you sit or scan and read. I also believe in the tiny, magical glow of hope. Like a little ember on the edge of the fire ring, small sparks can turn to a flickering fire. Without holding space for fresh air of peace, we ache and crave and miss out on magic.

Thank you to the following folks who’ve entered the Give Light Giveaway and answered the question, ‘What gives you hope?’

They’ve started with small sparks. Add your input by tomorrow evening.

Let’s create a flickering fire of hope for the year ahead.

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Photo by Hannah Troupe on Unsplash


Besides my faith in God, new life gives me hope: A precious baby, a wobbly-legged calf, or a tiny green shoot popping out of the brown dirt.  New life is such a miracle!

– Cathy P.


What gives me hope:

My children give me hope every day. And every child that walks into my life and shares their unfiltered joy with me. As long as new life keeps bringing new joy to the world I am hopeful.

– Christine C.


What gives me hope? Prayer gives me hope. When I pray for peace, faith, forgiveness or love; I’m given hope. When I pray for meekness, strength, comfort or mercy; I’m given hope. When I pray for courage, compassion, patience, and self-control; I’m given hope. When I pray for a sense of humor in a dark place, for listening ears when I want to scream, for self-love when I’ve made a mistake, for acceptance instead of judgment; I’m given hope.

For me, prayer is more than an expression of thanksgiving or a plea for help. Prayer is hope eternal.

– Suzanne M


There are two things that give me hope:

Seeing glimpses of how God has been preparing me and working behind the scenes for this season of my life.
Seeing the good that is still in the world.  I am reminded of friends giving gifts to their friends who are differently abled.  Giving baby dolls or stuffed animal dogs to those suffering from dementia to help make them feel purposeful and needed.  It helps remind them even subconsciously of previous times in their life when they were a caregiver for pets and / or children.
– Stephanie S.

Hi all,
I admit that it was hard for me to write a submission for this and I searched my brain and heart as to why. I realized that it’s because I don’t feel particularly hopeful this season. It’s definitely not like good things aren’t in my life right now, but it’s been a strange, quick, busy season where the gifts were unwrapped before I could say “it’s Christmas already?” My feelings seem to be echoed by everyone I talk to. I also feel like I’m in a strange limbo where I want to be working towards something but I haven’t figured out what.
However, there have been a few things that make me want to break down in tears just from the pure thoughtfulness of them, and they all have to do with children. I dropped by for a surprise visit to my friends’ house to visit with them and their kids on Christmas Eve. They were so welcoming and the kids were so excited that it immediately brightened my day. Not only that, but their daughter wrote me such a sweet note; I included pictures of it below. This is the same daughter that once picked the cheese out of the last cheddar biscuit for me just so I could have it (I’m lactose intolerant). Her kindness, uninhibited by motive or obligation, floors me every time.
              
The second thing that has brightened my days are the spontaneous hugs of my niece. My brother and his family are visiting from Mexico for the holidays and I don’t get to see her very often, but she seems to revere me like one would a big sister. Every time I’ve seen her over the last few days, she just randomly runs up to me and hugs me. It’s an expression of joy that I feel so grateful to be on the receiving end of.
The third thing is my tiny 1.5 yr old nephew diving in for a cracker crumb-filled kiss before he left my parents’ house last night. He has been so hesitant around me the past couple of months and I cherish those moments of closeness.
What do these all give me hope for?
The next moment.
– Katie M.

Submit your entry by Midnight on 12.31.2018

Details on how to enter here.

 

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On Seeing People

I walked to lunch today. A welcomed break in the middle of the day in one of my favorite towns. The noon hour buzzing with people, cars, sunshine streaming. It was hot, sweat glistened, and I found myself watching my shadow as I walked. Pony tail bobbing, thinking to myself, “I feel happy today.”

I’m recognizing, more and more, the return of happiness. I welcome it home.

As I turned the corner, I heard a small tinkling of ukulele music.  I stopped staring at my shadow and instead looked up. A larger gentleman was sitting on a bench. Wearing ragged clothes, hikers backpack full of belongings next to him,  he plucked away at the tiny instrument. A sign sat at his feet that said, “Just traveling on a prayer.” Aren’t we all?

I’ve had many a day I felt that was all that was bringing me through til night. A prayer.

I walked past and went into the sandwich shop chain. I paid eight dollars for my subpar sandwich and tucked the change in my pocket. Exit the restaurant, place sunglasses on head. Pivot back towards work.

I took a few steps and I noticed the music had stopped. I glanced down the block and saw the gentleman had placed the instrument to his side. His head was in his hands, a grubby bandana crumpling over his face, covering his eyes.

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I bent down, and set a dollar into his large mug.

“Thanks for your music” I said and started to walk on by.

The gentleman picked up his head and smiled, breathing a sigh of relief.

“You are the first to donate all day. I was beginning to doubt myself. ”

“Nothing to doubt,” I said, “thanks for the gift. Your music is lovely.”

He kept talking and I wished him a good day.

The pony tail in my shadow had found a reason to bounce. I felt a new swing in my step, fueled by feelings of thanks for my gift of seeing.

I’ve been given the gift of seeing – of noticing things others prefer to ignore. It can be a pain and sometimes I want to squash what this spirit in me reveals, to dismiss the urge to lean in to those sitting and playing on street corners. Yet, my gift shows up again and again tugging my heart like an impatient child pulling on a parent’s arm. She tells me to whisper hello, and transfer feelings of hope in the form of eye contact and simple words.

Today I chose to recognize talent, made a connection, shared resources, even if small. My choice was met with acceptance and affirmation. It felt like he really needed my words.

We all want to be seen and appreciated for our talents. Plus, I love the ukulele.

I hope others spared a dollar or two for his beautiful talent.

Where can you improve in seeing others? How can you share your resources? What can you say thank you for?

How can you interact while we all travel on a prayer? Can it be beautiful if we choose to appreciate one another?

Stand in the Circle

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There are debates. And shootings. And sickness. And brokenness galore.

And there is also rest. And joy. And hope. And peace.

And I want to choose peace.

I don’t know if you are religious, believe in God, or the power of the universe. If you are agnostic, atheist, or prone to struggle with others. It doesn’t matter where we come from, or how our religious backgrounds divide us. Instead, let us dwell on what can unite us.

My beautiful, simple prayer for this week, for this world, is this.

Encircle us Lord. Keep love in and hatred out. Keep joy in and fear out. Keep peace within and worry out. Keep light within and darkness out. May you stand in the circle with us today and always.

This is where I believe we need to dwell. Where we need to encourage each other. Where we need to return. Take the time to mediate on these words, and see what comes as a beautiful result.

 

On another note – I am extremely excited about my new logo for the blog designed by Blastoff Branding. If you need design work, I highly recommend this company.