We are entering the time of year when even people who don't ordinarily use candles start lighting candles for dinner or holiday gatherings.

I use candles all year long. I've been known to make my own. Candles for times of prayer, special remembrances, celebrations, or just to help me rest, write or be still--no matter the reason, I find the soft steady glow of a candle to be comforting.  

"It is better to light a candle than to sit in darkness."
                                                                    -Chinese proverb

By far my favorite kind of candles are beeswax. I have bought them here and there in my travels--food co-ops, bookstores, specialty gifts, wherever I have found them --because you can't always find beeswax candles, and not just beeswax--100% beeswax. Imagine my surprise when I learned that there is a very special place right in my backyard where 100% beeswax candles are made and sold!

A friend was visiting me and we stopped in at the Fair Trade/ Eco-Friendly store on the main street in Stanwood called Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow --and not only did they have some 100% beeswax candles, but they told us all about nearby Quiet Light Candles. Several enthusiastic and informative articles have been written by the local newspapers about the Orthodox Nuns at the Convent of the Meeting of The Lord who devote themselves to prayer and use the candle making business to earn their living.

Quiet Light Candles has a wonderful shop (you can watch a slideshow on their home page) with many local artists represented. There are so many unique candle holders I had to walk around the shop about three times in order to really see what all is there! The shop is open on Saturdays and by appointment. As a first time visitor to the shop you will receive a unique gift of hospitality in the offer to pour your own tealight and have the opportunity to learn about the process of working with beeswax. Your tealight will be set and ready to take home when you are done browsing in the shop.

Besides the lovely light they provide, another gift of burning 100% beeswax candles is their health benefits. With chemicals and additives in most everything these days it is encouraging to find something simple like a candle made of real beeswax produces not only a beautiful glowing light, but also cleanses the air as it burns.

A visit to Quiet Light Candles--online or in person, is a great adventure to a place where wonderful products are made by hand with love.

Stop awhile...
rest in the 
gentle light,
remember you 
are held by the 
Light of the world....
the Light no darkness 
can ever overcome.

Yep, that's right. You just never know. 
I was walking with a friend at a nearby outlet mall when we found saw this sign. An outlet raising money to help at-risk teens graduate from high school? How cool is that? Very cool in my book.

Keep looking. 
Hope is all around us.
In lots of little ways people are working to give others hope. Share what you find. 



Every little bit of purple is welcomed.
You used to say
that someday
the world would
run out of purple... and you'd laugh
knowing I would proclaim, "Never!"

Each little spark and 
speck of purple
 I see these days
is a promise
that, so far,
that loss is yet
to be endured.
--kj wuest

You Found It!


 Ahn! You Found It!

Where did you find it? MD Anderson Cancer CenterCity/StateHouston, TX

What did you do with it? I gave it to someone.

What hope do you want nurtured in 2012? I want to nurture the hope of each tomorrow being a better day.

Ahn, thank you for sharing your hope with us. 
We lift your hope for a better tomorrow in our hearts as well.
Thank you for passing on the bracelet to someone in need of it.
Three Hope bracelets will be on their way to you this week!
May hope blossom in you today.....

The Tutu Project


I saw Bob Carey on a morning new program the other day--and he is my new favorite hero. Far too many friends and family members have  had to face the journey through breast cancer. The Tutu Project -- Bob and his pink tutu are raising money for women with breast cancer. What began simply enough has transformed into HOPE and inspiration. I hope you will visit The Tutu Project website and Facebook page. I promise you will marvel and laugh--then please pass it on.
Where did you find it?
It was given to me by a person who had just lost his stepdad to cancer.

Renton, WA

What did you do with it?

I kept it.

Are you wearing it today?

What hope do you want nurtured in 2012?
For people to find peace in thier lives no matter what they are dealing with. 

Marilyn, thank you for writing in and we share your hope.
Glad you are wearing your bracelet.
Your hope bracelets will be in the mail to you later 
this week. Thank you for being a Hope Ranger!
Blessings to you.

Start with today



It is an every day choice.

This is your new blog post. Click here and start typing, or drag in elements from the top bar.
I took this picture at a favorite spot where I like to stop for just a few minutes of rest. 
Sometimes I write for a few minutes in my journal. Other times I read a poem and walk for five minutes. And, there are the days when I just need to sit, hear the waves meeting the shore, and  breathe in the air. I do love the rocks and broken shells. I find a few follow me home most every visit. 

It may sound like I go there every few days, unfortunately that is not possible right now. Even so, my making time to give myself a few minutes away makes all the difference in the world.

We all need places like this...but having them isn't enough. 
Find one and then make the time to go there and be rejuvenated. 

Do you have a place? What is it? Library, beach, park, museum....where do you go when you just need to take a breath and be for a few minutes or longer?

Thank you for your comments here. Your sharing may help someone else looking for encouragement and hope. Thank you!

Lucille Clifton quote is from her poem 'blessing of boats' and can be found
in her book Quilting: Poems of 1987-1990
I am very pleased to welcome Katyann as guest blogger today. This young woman is wise beyond her years and today she shares with us the a candid view of the struggles and realities of living with a chronic illness. 
How many spoons do you have today?
I started my blog, Lupie Life,  in 2010 after I realized that it was time for me to come out of “the closet” so to speak.  My life had been flipped upside down in early 2009 when I became gravely ill with an illness that not even some of the best doctors in the region could figure out.  After many months of “I don’t know,” “Sounds like this,” “That’s not my expertise,” and “It’s all in your head”; I was finally diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and I can happily say I am doing much better than when I was first diagnosed.  However I can’t say anything glamorous about Lupus, it actually really sucks.  Lupus likes my liver, my kidneys, my heart and the whole nine yards.  For those of you who do not know what Lupus is, it is a chronic auto-immune disorder where the immune system is over-active and attacks the body thinking it is a foreign invader.  The immune response is caused and inflammation is the result.  On any given day I can suffer from swollen joints, joint pain, fever, fatigue, muscle pain/weakness, mouth sores, brain fog, rashes, excessive hair loss, sun sensitivity (when the sun is actually out) and an over all feeling of malaise.  I am only eighteen years old.  

My blog has been my place over the past two years to dump, to inform and to grow.  On it I talk about issues surrounding Lupus few people are willing to even utter a word in regard to.  I also give insight on what it is like to be a chronically ill teenager and a perspective few ever run across.  Thanks in part to my blog, I have gone from not even being able to say the word “Lupus” to talking freely about it and not being afraid to say what I want to.  There is always the delete button on a blog, where as in conversation… not so much.  

I live very much day by day.  Some days are good; others are downright dreadful.  On my good days I go and enjoy life as much as I possibly can.  Sometimes even doing things most people would dread doing but it is funny how illness can change a person.  All of the sudden weeding in the rose garden is a privilege and no longer a dreaded task.  Bad days I look for simple little things to help get me through.  Being bed bound is not my idea of good fun; however there can still be positive notes that come from it.  One such thing I have found is the space, my body may be trapped but my mind is free.  External motivators such as pets or having a set task for the day can really help me to get out of bed. 

Hope is infused into me knowing the people who surround me love me and support me no matter how I am feeling.  I don’t root my hope in things like a cure or a new break through treatment; instead I have found hope in the world that surrounds me.  I have made the choice to allow hope into my life.  Darker days can be a struggle for me to find and allow hope within me.  My emotions run rampant as my body throbs and feels beaten from the disorder.  It is the small things in life that build my bigger picture of hope, even if all it is is witnessing someone smile or a bird sing. 

I have a very positive outlook and perspective life now.  There are many parts of my life I have no control over and I realize this.  So instead of stressing over what I have no say in, I work on controlling what I can.  Thanks to Lupus I have a deep feeling of empowerment and understanding from what the disorder has put me through.  In many ways it has been a blessing in disguise.  Lupus has opened me up to hope, a new level of comprehension and has helped me to figure out what I really want to do.  Unlike other people who are my age, I lack the energy most days to bounce in six different directions at once.  Instead I can only do one thing and I choose do it well. 

I don’t know what the future will bring me, the past is gone and embracing the present along with whatever it holds is the only thing I can do.  Surrounding myself with hope, strength and the desire to keep on going even when things seem hopeless. 

A first stop for information on Lupus
 Lupus Foundation of America is an excellent first stop to learn more. There is lots of good info about Lupus on it and it is a reputable source :)  

What is with the spoon picture at the top of this post? Spoons are for me the easiest way to give a physical representation to an abstract concept.  Healthy people don't think about how much energy it will take to say get dressed or get the mail.  I on the other hand have limited energy and when it is gone, it is really gone.  I wake up every morning with only so much energy and have to choose how to use it.  I use my "spoons" through out the day and budget them wisely.  For every task I do, a spoon is lost.  Sometimes they all run away from me (possibly with the fork and knife..) and I am in bed all day lacking energy to move.  Using the spoon theory I have found really helps to take a "you don't understand" situation to "here let me show you" scenario.  I hope you all have many spoons today :) 
 --Katyann Wilson

Barbara, thank you for filling out a contact form and letting us know about finding a Hope bracelet! We love hearing the stories of where people find them, what they do with them, and, we especially appreciate being able to lift up the finder's hope. 

Where did you find it?
Local Branch Library, Norfolk, VA

Norfolk, VA

What did you do with it?. 
I gave it to someone.

What hope do you want nurtured in 2012?
That God would use me to be a source of blessing and encouragement to those in my life that are struggling, either physicaly, emotionally, or spiritually.

Barbara, you are blessed to be a blessing--
may you have many more opportunities to reach out
to others who are struggling and offer them hope
in a variety of ways.

(Thank you for becoming a Hope Ranger--your bracelets will be in the mail to you 
in a few days. Have fun!)