Where did you find it?
Public Library Shelf
City/State
Tucson, Az 85718
What did you do with it?.
 I kept it.
Are you wearing it today?
No.
What hope do you want nurtured in 2012?
Obama gets re-elected.
I will pass it on for someone else to find.

We are very grateful for your sharing where
you found the hope bracelet. There are many of us who 
share your hope for 2012. 
May hope blossom in you as you pass on the
bracelet for someone else to find!
... and After."
This picture is from the Pima County Public Library photo collection on Flikcr
 
 
The title of one of my devotional readings this morning was, Hold on to hope, and was based on scripture from the book of Isaiah 40:31 "But those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength."  A wonderful strong and encourage verse, and the author wrote a very good reflection based on it--one I am sure I will reread in the future. However, given my current circumstances (loved one in hospice, a dear friend in ICU, another possibly facing more cancer treatment, and a father in his late eighties and struggling with cancer, heart and other health issues) feel differently than the author in one important understanding. The author states that, "...the most painful part of any suffering is fear."  At this point, in regards to my loved one in hospice, it is not fear that are living with, rather it is living daily with the dichotomy of  despair and hope. The incrementally slow decline toward death and the daily suffering does not cause me to fear, but it does make me despair at times. 

In the past I have lived with the two sided coin of faith/doubt. I know from experience I can live as a faithful person and still struggle with doubts. These days I am living as a very hopeful and hope-filled person, but at the same time I do struggle with despair that my loved one's release from pain and suffering continues day in and day out. As his full time caregiver, I am confident of being able to do what I need to with medications and other medical related issues his daily care requires--none of that makes me fearful, and the hospice nurses are very good with directions, but I do despair. The sadness and pain that I feel in some moments of this long waiting does not take away my hope for his final healing. While I am not someone who uses the "victory over death" language often, I am a Christian and I trust that when death comes there will be release and healing, and therefore I can say, "victory over cancer" for him--he will at last be at peace and have new life, and that "victory over death". 

I will also point out, just for the record, that as I disagree with the thesaurus putting "lack of faith" as a synonym for the word doubt, I am equally disagreeable  that the first synonym listed in my thesaurus (may be different in others) for despair is "hopelessness."

 I will also just note for the record that the devotion I read this morning was based on Jeremiah 29:11 "For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD...to give you a future with hope."  Two strong passages on hope--a good way to being February.
 
 
Picture
There were no open parking spaces at the bank this afternoon. I had to drive around the block. As I sat at the stop sign waiting to turn right I looked up and saw this sign. I laughed. Don't get me wrong--I love it! In the seat next to me was a large back of new Hope bracelets (yes, this does mean that the Hope Rangers have release more than 50 bracelets into the wild already! These new ones look a little different but have the same simple message:
                       may hope blossom in me
After finding still no parking slot at the bank or the street near the bank I decided to park across from the church with the sign and walk to the bank. Seeing the sign again I decided I needed to stop in and leave a bracelet. Surprise! I was met at the door by the Rector herself. I explained why I stopped in and handed her a bracelet, she put it on and invited me in for a quick chat. I shared my book, Heart Prayers with her and a little of story about myself, the writing and publishing of the book.  I am looking forward to sharing a cup of coffee and learning more about how The Church of the Ascension is fueling hope.

 

Water is HOPE?

01/24/2012

 
I recently learned about another Fair Trade Coffee--the name caught my eye, but their story caught my heart.  Check out The Three Avocado's today. Find and read the story behind their name and then explore their projects and learn why Water is Hope
 
 
Picture
Another hope bracelet has been found! Here is what the finder shared:
Where did you find it?
Post office
City/State
Loveland, CO
What did you do with it?

I kept it
Are you wearing it today?
Yes
What hope do you want nurtured in 2012?
Peace in the world
Better economy for the US, so those who are struggling and jobless can get up on their feet again and enjoy life.  


Adam, we join you in that hope.So glad you
found and are wearing the hope bracelet...
may it remind you to look for hope to blossom
even during days of loss and struggle.
 
 
Picture
Tonight we heard from our first person who found one of the hope bracelets  our rangers have been releasing into the wild...here is what we learned.

Where did you find it?
in the restroom at Rocky Mountain Cancer Center Rose

City/State
Denver, CO

What did you do with it? 

 I am wearing it now.

Are you wearing it today?
Yes.

What hope do you want nurtured in 2012?
That I survive my 7th bout with breast cancer. This bracelet couldn't have come at a better time.....it gave me hope. thank you so much! 



Evelyn you will be in our thoughts and prayers. 
Thank you so much for letting us know
that you found a hope bracelet!
May you be blessed with strength and comfort during
these difficult days. 
 
 
Picture
Being released into the wild!
One of my favorite things is to find something uplifting that someone else left behind just so another person might find it and smile. 

Kindness. Random? No, not in this case. 

It is a planned release into the wild. Red bracelets with a hope blessing on them are going out into the world to bring a smile and encourage whoever finds it. Maybe it will be just what they need, maybe they will know someone else who needs encouragement and they'll have the joy of passing it on. 


Each red bracelet will have a paper slip attached with a greeting and some instructions. Perhaps we will hear from some of the people who find them. Maybe they will have a message of hope to share. 

Where would you most like to find one? Leave your comment and it may help our 'bracelet rangers' as they release the bracelets. 
 
 
Picture
-kjwuest 2011
Several years ago there was a very popular saying: 

                        bloom where you are planted

It is a saying that speaks directly to determination. When faced with difficulty it is often easier to slip into survival mode--and sometimes that is exactly what we need to do--it is called survival mode for a reason. 

But, survival mode is not a place to live. It is not necessarily a place where significant growth occurs. Although, later on you may be able to look back and see that seeds for growth were planted during a time of survival mode functioning.

This picture was taken in the driveway of our old house. I took this picture during a long period of functioning in survival mode--a time of great change, job loss, of being the caregiver to a terminally ill loved one, and a time of clearing out the house we had lived in for 9 or so years. Every once in awhile I would be confronted with something amazing like this flower growing through a tiny crack in the driveway, and I would be in awe. I would stop in my tracks--usually with the car door open and one foot in midair on it's way into the car.

The fragile beauty of this determined flower blooming where no plant would choose to be planted made me stop in admiration.  How did it manage to get enough of a foothold to grow? Not just grow and fizzle, but bloom beautifully whole? I stopped to admire and consider it's determination. And I took it as a reminder to not let myself be stuck in survival mode for too long. I needed to make the choice, and the effort, to bloom where I was planted. My current circumstances did not need to define who I was and how I would live. Even in limitation and transition I had choices and I could bloom.

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The important thing to remember is that sharing hope needs to grow out of reality. For hope to be real it must grow out of where we are at the moment. We have to be honest with ourselves in order to be helpful to others. So, if I am in a vulnerable place, my openness about that vulnerability is an opportunity for others to find hope in their own situations. We begin where we are recognizing that how we feel now will not last forever. I remind myself, on days where life feels dark or impossible, that I am perhaps only one short bend in the road before the well known light at the end of the tunnel shines in my face.

 

Re-new Year

01/02/2012

 
A new space to write about hope, to share opportunities, events, images and encouragement.

Now, fair warning--I moved my domain from one place to another, so there may well be a few...er...um...bugs to work out. It will take a little time and there are changes involved.

To begin with you will notice that the candle vigils are now on their own page under the tab Practices - if you put your cursor on the word Practices a little menu will drop down. Right now, three different page names appear:
  • candles
  • labyrinth
  • journaling

Other pages are planned for the future. You can read more about Practices by clicking on the Practices tab.