Category Archives: hope

How We Honor Our Heritage

Have you thought about lately what you do with the treasures that others have buried inside you?

Quoting an often remembered parable “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

My mother’s love language was acts of service. Without any conscious purpose I have spent the majority of my life pursuing the following professions, military, police, and education. All of which gave me opportunities to help, protect, and cultivate. Now I’m taking the time to consider what it means to be my mother’s son.

One of her defining traits was fostering. Her grandmother showed her what that meant while raising her from infancy. As a child my mother practiced it with her cousins. As an adult she continued it with coworkers, friends and acquaintances throughout her life.

I am humbled by the daily experience where I engage in the same fostering my mother once did. This manifests as a cherished memory now. One I welcome with warm embrace. Thankfully, I have powerfully available visual cues to remind me of how my mother’s spirit remains present in her absence.

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It occurs to me that similar expressions will be born out in her other children, grandchildren, and those others whom she endowed with her loving legacy. There is a good sized list. My hope is that in the days ahead that we live without her, each of us still recognize how we operate as an extension of the seeds she planted within us.

What about you? Who do you think about? What do you remember? What do you see in your life that must have come from them? Will the idea of honoring the heritage they passed on to you bring you peace, comfort, or assurance? Will it bring healing and restoration? Will it help you bury your treasures in the right fields?

Continue reading How We Honor Our Heritage

3 Things to Consider

Think about how those involved are working to make things better.

 

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Every city has ghosts, but some have more than others. Detroit is one of those places.  When you have a city with such an incredible and tragic past still reeling from issues and challenges that impact a vulnerable population, spirits will linger. The truth is that in order to really appreciate and understand Detroit, you need to go looking for them. They’re not hard to find here – every building, park, street and community has a story to tell that goes beyond the surface. If you care enough to listen, the ghosts reveal themselves. Sometimes, they find you instead of the other way around. This is what happened to me on a recent Saturday morning. I was taking an aimless drive around the city, when I passed by a cemetery. The cemetery is a place that I can’t resist visiting. Whenever I go to a new city, it’s one of those places on my list of things to see. I’ve visited cemeteries in cities across the U.S., in Scotland, Germany, Armenia and Mongolia. They offer the best insight in getting to know where you are. They help piece together the story of a place that can’t be told just by its current facade.

A Writer’s Residency, Reimagined

WRITE A HOUSE

We fix up homes in Detroit to award creative residencies to writers.

 

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Keys to Staying Positive
  1. Simplify your life.
  2. Watch your thoughts. What goes in, comes out.
  3. Surround yourself with positive people.
  4. Take time for yourself, even if it means saying “no” to others.
  5. Be grateful, laugh and celebrate life.
  6. Think more about what you have as opposed to what you don’t have.
  7. Help others

 

A21

JULIA

http://www.a21.org/content/liberty/go3mpk
via A21.org

 

Julia* grew up picking mushrooms and fruit in a small village in the countryside of Bulgaria. She loved this pastime and enjoyed doing it alongside her family—but she saw that everyone around her in the village was struggling. Julia* wanted something more for her life.

When she was offered an opportunity to pick mushrooms in the Netherlands for higher pay, she accepted. She was excited to do what she loved, with job security, and a hope for a better future.

But when she arrived, Julia* discovered that she had been deceived. She was thrown into a house crammed with other foreigners and forced to work from dawn to dusk for little or no pay. She had been trafficked for her labor, enslaved, and trapped. But, after some time, Julia* bravely escaped out of a window and ran to safety.

With the assistance of A21, she was safely repatriated home to Bulgaria. Since coming into our care, she has completed our aftercare program and found employment through our social enterprise, Liberty.

After all of the trauma and abuse she experienced, Julia* has continued to recover step by step. She’s had a safe environment to work in, community to support her, and time to heal. Now, after two stable years of employment, with Liberty on her résumé, Julia* is able to bravely take steps toward a life of full independence

Hope

My journey of personal observations which I have made over the years to apply Bible reading in my life.

Psalm 130:7 O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.
Observation
God redeems us from our sin and its consequences out of an expression of His love which is sacrificial and selfless. That is our hope when all else fails, it is our hope before self reliance, it is our hope in the beginning and in the end.
Application in my life
I read where the United Nations commission on global warming says that human life will be affected by rising surface temperatures, water will not be available to sub saharan areas of Africa and similar lands, millions of square miles of habitats along the coastline will be under water, and crops will not grow in areas where they currently do. People will migrate in order to survive and less food will be available to feed the growing planet’s population. I did not feel very good about our future reading this. The experts predicted violence and unrest by groups of people in reaction to the climate changes.

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Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines is an example of the increased harm climate change has already brought into the environment today, which is more violent and deadly weather than ever before. When I think about the bleak picture that this presents, verses such as Psalm 130:7 help to provide a calm that comes with the realization that although I may not be able to place much hope and confidence in governments or corporations or other people, I do have a God with whom my hope belongs. While I believe †he increase in greenhouse gases do to human consumption is partly the result of sinful behavior and unwise choices, I also believe we all have a responsibility to do what we can to fix it.
My prayer
Lord help use providence to deal with the consequences of global warming, provide us shelter and safety from the storms ahead, let us act wisely to minimize the harm that the destructive production of greenhouse gasses has brought upon us. Allow us to see Your vision for a lifestyle that is a blessing and not a curse, Amen

Faith

My journey of personal observations which I have made over the years to apply Bible reading in my life.
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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
Matthew 16:18
Upon this rock I shall build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it
Observation
Faith is a foundation of Christianity.  An aspect of that faith is the belief that God has given Jesus as the savior of mankind.  Faith in that truth is the basis of being a Christian
Application in my life 
Jesus tells me that this concept is the victory in the spiritual battle between good and evil.  In the next verse Jesus refers to the keys of the kingdom.  For me I understand these keys to be repentance, prayer, praise, service, and discipleship.  Evidence of my repentance includes removal of sinful thoughts and sinful actions and also by my focusing on Godly thoughts and sacrificial behavior (doing things more for the benefit of others than myself).  Prayer is a daily communication where I open myself up to God and allow myself to hear from Him.  Praise is audible exhortation to God when I am alone or with other believers. The purpose is to please Him as a form of worship.  Service is something I do for other believers as exemplified in Paul’s teachings. Giving to and working for people in the world, both believers and non believers, are acts of service.  Discipleship includes witnessing – sharing my life and my beliefs with others, bible study, having accountability relationships where I help others mature as Christians and others help me, fellowship – spending time together, and counseling.
My prayer
Dear God, thank you for providing victorious kingdom living and the abundant life.  Let my gratitude be expressed in genuine repentance, true service to your children, and submission to your will during my daily walk.

My Grieving Letter

Dear Fellow Sufferer,

I come to you with sad news of the death of my close relative. And while life does go on, I’ll never be the same. I want to say now that fact is accepted. For her life meant so much to me that the loss will forever change how I approach my world. However, I need to recover and eventually arrive to a place where I am thriving. That will take time, effort and help from people such as you.

How can you help? Your tolerance with me when you see me feeling bad, your patience with any unexplained anger I show can help me heal. Seeing you, gives me a chance to lean on your strength. I won’t ask you for advice. But when I of course do ask you, be assured that I won’t heed what you tell me, or even appear to appreciate it. I will appreciate your reaching out to spend time, visits, texts, phone calls. And when I don’t respond, I hope you use that as a sign. Seek me out when that happens because it will probably be when I am most vulnerable and need your help more.

Prayers are always welcome. If you ever feel prompted to share with me how loss has impacted your life I hope that you do. I believe it would benefit both of us. It may not seem like it by the way I look or act, but that’s okay, remember I’m grieving, and that often isn’t comfortable.

Let me close with words of gratitude and appreciation. Because each time you help me this way you will be acting out of love. That gift has more value than every other thing you might provide me. Thank you.

The idea for the grieving letter is from Recovering From Losses In Life by H. Norman Wright, who got the idea from Bob Deits, who wrote Life After Loss.

Jewelry For Justice

By Emma Borquaye, A21 UK Prevention, Awareness, and Education Coordinator

Marina De Buchi is a jewelry designer living in London with a passion to see human trafficking abolished in the 21st Century. At 20 years old, she is already active in doing what she can to help by giving 10% of all proceeds from her jewelry brand to A21.

As she lays out the dainty gold bracelets in front of me at the table, she talks through the meaning behind each one in The Freedom Collection;

“The bird is called beyond fear lies freedom, so you can look at it and know that you can get through whatever you are facing. The key says ‘unlock your dreams,’ but it can be unlocking freedom, unlocking anything! Whatever it means for that person.”

Unlock Your Dreams

Guest Post: A Look At John Kasich by Cindy Lee — LifeLove&Truth

The Medicaid expansion in Ohio helped 500,000+ of Kasich’s constituents, Saved many lives, provided healthcare to 40,000+ poor and unemployed VETERANS, provided drug treatment to keep people out of jail, Provided mental health treatment to thousands some of which would be in Jail, added thousands of new jobs to Ohio and boosted the economy. Kasich…

via Guest Post: A Look At John Kasich by Cindy Lee — LifeLove&Truth

Positive Thoughts | Positive Living with MS

ms1aI’ve shared this story before, but for those who don’t know, when I was younger it wasn’t a requirement to attend kindergarten. Because of that, my first classroom experience was first grade. I loved my teacher, I loved my school, I loved my entire first grade life. Well, most of it.Two weeks into the school year I was sent to the principal’s office. Now you have to understand, I was a well behaved kid back then. Really, I was. For me to be in trouble was a big deal. My dad was a Drill Sergeant at that time in the military so I knew not to misbehave, and if I did misbehave…well, let’s just say it would be better for me to pack my bags and go live in the treehouse.

Source: Positive Thoughts | Positive Living with MS

the semicolon project

A semi-colon is a reminder to pause and then keep going.

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FullSizeRender-1FullSizeRender Today I went to a tattoo artist, and for $60 I let a man with a giant Jesus-tattoo on his head ink a semi-colon onto my wrist where it will stay until the day I die. By now, enough people have started asking questions that it made sense for me to start talking, and talking about things that aren’t particularly easy.

We’ll start here: a semi-colon is a place in a sentence where the author has the decision to stop with a period, but chooses not to. A semi-colon is a reminder to pause and then keep going. 

In April I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. By the beginning of May I was popping anti-depressents every morning with a breakfast I could barely stomach. In June, I had to leave a job I’d wanted since I first set foot on this campus as an incoming freshmen because of my mental…

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