Inspiration

All Things Calm

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You are the peace of all things calm.
You are the place to hide from harm.
You are the light that shines in the dark.
You are the heart’s eternal spark.
You are the door that’s open wide.
You are the guest who waits inside.
You are the stranger at the door.
You are the calling of the poor.
You are my Lord and save me from ill.
You are the light, the truth, the way.
You are my Savior this very day.

—Medieval Celtic Chant

 

This post is an excerpt from Prayers for Hard Times by Becca Anderson, which can be found at Amazon and Mango Media.

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Inspiration

Being Thankful for Each New Challenge

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Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary,
because it means you’ve made a difference.

It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.

Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessing.

—Anonymous

This post is an excerpt from Prayers for Hard Times by Becca Anderson, which can be found at Amazon and Mango Media.

Inspiration

Medieval Nordic Blessing Song

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Hail to thee, day! Hail, ye day’s sons!
Hail, night and daughter of night!
With blithe eyes look on both of us:
send to those sitting here speed!

Hail to you, God! Hail!
Hail, earth that givest to all!
Goodly days and speech bespeak we from you,
and healing hands, in this life.

—The Poetic Edda—the Lay of Sigrdrifa, 600 AD

 

This post is an excerpt from Prayers for Hard Times by Becca Anderson, which can be found at Amazon and Mango Media.

Inspiration

Your Infinite Peace

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Center of all centers, core of cores,
almond, self-enclosed and growing sweet—
all this universe, to the furthest stars
and beyond them, is your flesh, your fruit.

Now you feel how nothing clings to you;
your vast shell reaches into endless space,
and there the rich, thick fluids rise and flow,
illuminated in your infinite peace.

A billion stars go spinning through the night,
blazing high above your head.
But in you is the presence that will be,
when all the stars are dead.

—Rainer Maria Rilke

Inspiration

Practice Kindness Day and Night

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May we practice kindness day and night, forever,
not only towards friends, but also to strangers,
and especially to the enemy;
not only towards human beings,
but also to animals and other beings
who want happiness and don’t want to suffer.

May we constantly enjoy our lives by rejoicing.

May we constantly enjoy happiness
by rejoicing in all the positive things
that bring benefit to others and to ourselves.
And may we especially rejoice when we see
all the good things that happen to others.

May we develop patience to achieve
all happiness, temporal and ultimate,
and to bring that happiness to others;
not only to our family, but to all sentient beings.

May we develop all 16 human qualities,
an understanding which makes our lives different.

May we become skilled in not harming sentient beings,
and may we become only the source
of happiness for sentient beings, like sunshine.

May we practice contentment.

May we learn contentment and satisfaction,
an understanding which makes our lives different.

May we learn contentment and satisfaction.
May we learn to enjoy contentment,
which brings great freedom into our lives
and brings us so much happiness.
May we be an example to the world.

May we practice these good qualities and,
when somebody abuses or harms us,
may we immediately forgive them.
In daily life, when we make mistakes and harm others,
may we immediately ask forgiveness.

May we be able to develop courage,
to be an inspiring example
and to be of benefit in so many ways
for the happiness of others,
not only for ourselves.

—Lama Zopa Rinpoche

 

This post is an excerpt from Prayers for Hard Times by Becca Anderson, which can be found at Amazon and Mango Media.

Inspiration

Veg Out! Healthy Food for All Is Essential

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All families and growing children should have easy access to healthy food.

Have you hear of “food deserts”? I certainly never did until reading last year in the New York Times about entire swaths of urban areas with nothing but corner stores filled with processed packages foods and no produce whatsoever.  I started paying attention and it is true.

There is something you can do about it: make a donation at Wholesome Wave which provides fresh fruits and veggies to these under-served communities.  How great is that? Actually, it is even better, as Wholesome Wave obtains their organic produce from small and mid-sized farmers.

Inspiration

The Gift of Humility

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Do not seek too much fame,
but do not seek obscurity.
Be proud,
but do not remind the world of your deeds.
Excel when you must,
but do not excel the world.
Many heroes are not yet born;
many have already died.
To be alive to hear this song is a victory.

—Song from West Africa

This post is an excerpt from Prayers for Hard Times by Becca Anderson, which can be found at Amazon and Mango Media.

Inspiration

Cookies Taste a Lot Like Love: #OperationGratitude

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Thousands of miles away and MREs (Meals, Ready-to-Eat) on the menu, how much would you love a homemade cookie?

I learned about this from my mom whose church regularly sends cards, letters, and care packages overseas to the armed forces. My mom and her fellow church ladies bake some of the best cookies in the world, so they gather up all kinds of goodies and treats and send them overseas where the taste of “down home” surely brings many smiles of satisfaction. Those who are less gifted in the baking department, such as me, can make a $15 donation to Operation Gratitude, which pays for a care package for one service person. Operation Gratitude has sent over a million of these kindness kits around the world!

Inspiration

Make More Time for People

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Everyone you see has a story worth hearing. Just say hi!

Try something new this year and check out the Just Say Hello Campaign on Oprah’s website. The campaign (find it here) encourages kindness and strives to combat loneliness by encouraging us to reach out and connect. A howdy-do to a stranger might make your day and a new pal in the process. I read about this excellent friendliness project in Oprah’s O Magazine a few Sundays ago and immediately felt inspired to try it that day. My boyfriend and I went to do our weekend chores, which include buying fresh flowers from our neighborhood stand. An older gentleman was standing there smelling the roses, always a good idea in my mind. I remembered to say “Hi” as instructed by Oprah and he responded with a big smile and wanted my input on flowers he wanted to buy for a lady friend.  As you might imagine, quite a conversation ensued and my boyfriend joined in, who is even friendlier than I am. Soon the florist was involved and our new gentleman friend turned out to be a fascinating conversationalist. He had been a fighter pilot in the Korean War, very highly decorated and has traveled all over the world before returning back home to El Cerrito. Widowed some years back, he was only beginning to get back out there and date. After landing upon a carefully selected bouquet of red roses and pink lilies, he headed off to the dance at the senior center. I noticed he has a good bit of pep in his step, and I remember having a good feeling about his first date. We kept our eyes peeled for Colonel Jarvis when in the vicinity of the flower shop and sure enough we saw him and he had pictures of his lady friend from the dance featuring a corsage he had gotten for her. Things were looking pretty swell all around and he looked pleased as punch.

So, thanks Oprah for another great idea!