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.

A candle garden



During  a difficult time I light a candle. The gentle light of a burning candle gives me a sense of calm and a positive focus. Time for a deep breath, time out to reorient myself, my thoughts, my attitude. 

Stress is all around us. It helps to have a practice or two up your sleeve to give yourself a break.

Walking, knitting, writing in my journal are other things that help me in tense times.

What is in your bag of tricks? Share one or two. We all can use some new ideas, and it's a new year! (Oh, you didn't want to be reminded of that one more time!?) 

Water is HOPE?


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
Another hope bracelet has been found! Here is what the finder shared:
Where did you find it?
Post office
Loveland, CO
What did you do with it?

I kept it
Are you wearing it today?
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.
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

Denver, CO

What did you do with it? 

 I am wearing it now.

Are you wearing it today?

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. 

Buddha Quote


Your work
 is to discover 
your work
 and then 
with all your heart
to give yourself
 to it.

I love this. A bench that sits between the sidewalk and the street where anyone passing by is invited to sit away. To sit and enjoy a poem, a quote, or a few moments of quiet. Sure there is traffic, but even so, there is a stillness of body, mind and spirit for anyone who takes the time to stop. Stop thinking, moving, planning, talking, just stop and be still. Wouldn't be nice if there were more of this kind of space offered in our neighborhoods and cities?

It would have been a nice place this morning in the snow...but then, so was my blanket nest on the couch! I will return there another day, write a poem or leave a quote, and perhaps a hope bracelet. Hmmm.

Have you visited a poem bench or anything like it anywhere you have lived, traveled or passed through? If you have and you have a picture of it -- contact me -- I'd love to post it here with a few sentences about your experience. 

Yes, it's true. Our bracelet rangers are on the loose planting hope in public places. I've seen it with my own eyes, I've had e-mails and texts...Are their bracelet rangers near you? Well, so far there are rangers in:
  • Seattle, Bellingham, Longview & Kent WA
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Colorado

And soon to be in:
  • Virginia
  • California
  • ???

The question is...will those who have found a bracelet check in and let us know? Hope so!

What would encourage you to report finding one of the hope bracelets? Please share your encouragement.
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. 
-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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