Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Now this is JOY!

Bailey the dog has found himself some manna from heaven in the wonderful white stuff that falls from the sky. It's sheer joy to watch him in his joy! Oh if we were all so simply satisfied (and so well equipped to enjoy winter!).

Joy and Peace,

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Global Prayer Project

Hi all. The Global Prayer Project was created by James Redman, author of the Celestine Prophecy books and movie). I enjoyed this short film and thought you might as well.
Peace and Love,

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Power of Joy

"The achievement of anything that you desire must be considered success, whether it is a trophy or money or relationships, or things. But if you will let your standard of success be your achievement of joy—everything else will fall easily into place. For in the finding of joy, you are finding vibrational alignment with the resources of the Universe."

Excerpted from a workshop in “The Law of Attraction, The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham” on Saturday, July 1st, 2006

I love the Teachings of Abraham in the book "Ask and it is Given."

I especially love how it tells us that our emotions will always let us know when we are in alignment with Universal Flow / the energy of the Divine, and when we have closed ourselves off to it. JOY is the number on indicator that we are aligning ourselves with that flow and experiencing the deepest, richest relationship with the Divine possible.

It's the kind of joy that has absolutely no connection to circumstances of life. It just comes from being in tune to the exquisite hum of life and the majesty and beauty of that experience.

Here's to a day of true JOY!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Love Wins! & An Internet Adventure

Today I was sent a link by my friend Ed Sabo who owns Natural Awakenings Magazine, Houston edition. Ed has been talking with me about doing some branding work that will solidify his initial efforts and really allow him to leverage what he has and realize his full vision.

He sent me this link to watch a video about a 17-year-old girl who has built a million dollar business by creating visually appealing backgrounds for teens who want to personalize their My Space page. She started when she was 14. She gives the backgrounds away free and because over 800,000 teens (mostly girls) hit her site daily she gets a seven-figure income from her advertisers.

After watching that 3 minute "news" story on Yahoo's People of the Web (a site I had never heard of) I spent a couple of hours watching more videos and learning about other everyday people who are using the power of the web to communicate with each other.

Two hours?? You may be wondering if I have become a couch potato.

But there is a reason for my fascination. I just finished reading The Long Tail by Chris Anderson, CEO of Wired Magazine. In it, Chris helps to describe what we intuitively know - that the internet is changing everything - in a simple and understandable way. He shows how it is affecting the economy and why our treasured "cultural sameness" has always been a kind of myth and how the web is revealing the true diversity of our interests. More on that in aonther post. The point here is that Yahoo's People of the Web is a perfect illustration of what he was writing about.

It serves as an aggregator and recommender/filter to allow people like me (who don't want to spend excessive hours on the web) to hook into at least some of the better wild-web content being posted at overwhelming rates. And in "reporting" about how these everyday people are using the internet to share their creative ideas Yahoo is multiplying their reach. When describing this to my clients, I use the term exponentiating. Yahoo's People on the Web is an "exponentiator."

So what did I discover at People on the Web? Well I like to dance so when I saw clip entitled "World Wide Dance Off" I clicked.

I was fascinated by the story of Matt Harding, who decided to quit his job after saving up enough money to travel around the world. While traveling in Viet Nam, Matt's friend suggested they video him doing this little dance he'd done since childhood. It's goofy and kind of amusing to watch him gleefully dancing - very badly. He ended up filming himself dancing at every stop, edited it into a video on his return, posted it to his blog and to You Tube and got famous. He's on his fourth trip around the world now with a sponsor helping him. He has a cool site and has created an awesome brand for himself. Matt has a 2008 version out now that has sparked amazing interest and good will as has been notice now by the MSM (mainstream media) and teh morning talk shows, but also by other thoughtful web observers.

I like art, so I clicked on Art in Real Time. It is truly AMAZING what this guy is doing with art and performance - and then combining them with web video. He connected people and their stories in one piece bringing them together into a self-portrait he filmed and streamed online over 6 days.

After a bit more bouncing around, I found three video stories on a single page about people using the web to allow everyday folks to help other everyday folks around the world. Each effort focuses on a different need - fun/quality of life, health, and economic prosperity - of people in some of the world's poorest regions. And each makes it possible for someone like me to by-pass the slow and wasteful government aid efforts to get into the game of aid provider myself. The title for this post, Love Wins, came from the last of the three videos featured on this page. Definitely worth watching all three!

The point of this post, what I most want to share today, is how Yahoo's site People of the Web was yet another way for me to see the POWER of this medium to allow us to connect with each other, to move each other into action, and to join together with others who are interested in the same things we are. Since my interest lies in finding and implementing ways to make life for the collective human family better, I am inspired by what I see. I am amazed at the creativity and zeal of our youth who really get the power of the web in ways my 40-year-old brain may never.

Yes, there's a lot of junk out there. People on the Web had it's share of time wasting junk. It's also true that much of what people are doing on the web is just for entertainment, novelty. Personally, I think that's great because we need to laugh more and we need creativity. And of course one must admit that blogs and websites are also used to connect people with malicious interests as well as for more productive and helpful endeavors.

But as the words from a sticker screamed out to me in that last video I saw, I believe now more than ever: LOVE WINS!

And the internet, intended or not, is helping that cause.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Wal-Mart, Flip Flops, & Stuff: Power to the People!

WARNING - this isn't my usual sort of post...but hopefully it's a provocative one.

There is hope for America, and it resides within its people!

Click here to see what one woman has done to take on Wal-mart after receiving major chemical burns on her feet (taking over 7 months to heal) from wearing cheap flip flops made in China. (Please note these images are ugly and nasty - and please come back to read the rest of my post, even if you get sucked in an spend an hour on her site - there's another great link later in the post you won't want to miss). You can read all about the run around she's been given, the denials, the refusal to take action to keep others out of harm's way, and the hundreds of others she's found who have had the same burns (yes you can see their burned and oozing feet too). This is technology at its finest! Digital photos, email and websites, putting the voice of the people out there - 48 million hits and climbing! People love a train wreck.

I ask myself, would I have been willing to invest the time and energy that Kerry has to rage against the machine? Would I have cared enough to help out so many others who have suffered so they could ease their pain. Perhaps she'll get something for her time from Wal-mart.

Yet, the picture is so much larger than some flip flops and burned feet. Fortunately Kerry and the others affected have shown us clear and undeniable damage by a system out of control. Just maybe it can get through to us all because we get it that maybe it could have been us in agony. I wonder...how rigorously do I check the things I buy and bring into my home for product safety?

This isn't an isolated problem. The amazing site below explains why something like this happens. I planned to post this site anyway, but after the flip flop thing it's a must! Watch The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard and you'll see how the flip flop incident relates to our entire way of life. I have posted the first two minutes of the video below. The site has been getting so much traffic it may be down at times, so you want to you can watch the video in 7 parts right here. The other parts will show up when the intro ends.

If you kept watching you heard an earful about chemicals and it's pretty easy to see that those flip flops are just a seedy symptom of a much bigger illness...I hope you'll watch the rest of Annie's video. It's MUST SEE in my book.

Our willingness to accept the absolute insanity of current day manufacturing and production is mind boggling. The toxins are in everything! Remember Madge and Palmolive? "You're soaking in it."

And the waste! UGH!

Both Kerry and Annie have my attention. I am inspired and I have been called up. If things are going to change, we are going to have to do it. Moms and Dads, everyday people. WE must be the watchdogs, because the Walmarts of the world won't be, nor will the FDA. (That's a whole 'nother post.)

As my friend Sandy Arch says, it all boils down to us taking our power back - and he's not talking about voting in the elections. He's talking about voting EVERY DAY with our dollars. He tells me that WE have the real power. Without everyday people, Walmart, Montsanto, McDonald's are nothing. We make them, and we can break them. We can CHOOSE more wisely about where we shop and what we buy. They need our money more than we need them.

I for one am no longer willing to be manipulated by the system and unintentionally support an economy of death. It's time to put my money where my mouth is - even more than I already am. Yes, I already spend more money to buy no VOC paint, eat organic food, use natural deodorant salt sticks, wash with eco-friendly detergents, drive a Toyota Prius, etc., etc., etc.

I have to vote with my dollar for a future for my daughter. I simply must. And today, I am inspired to do more...starting with sharing these two fierce women and their willingness to stand up and speak out with all of you. Maybe you will be inspired too.

Be Joyful. Be safe. SHOP WISELY!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Amazing Christmas Music for All

Check out these guys doing a funny and inclusive (almost) take on the music of the season! These guys are awesome!


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Joy of God Expressing

I started this blog for purely selfish reasons. I wanted to create more joy in my life. I know that wherever my intention and attention intersect the result will be creation.

It is true that my capacity to tolerate joy has risen. Way Cool! This blog has also served to help me to better stay in touch with family and friends. That has brought me tremendous joy. Sophia seems to be good for my traffic!

My hope was that in blogging about my own exploration others would find themselves thinking about joy more often and hopefully experiencing it more often as well. I have no clue weather that is happening. I don't really know if there's anybody out there reading...Pink Floyd is running through my brain...post a comment now and again if you're out there...

One thing is for sure, this blog has heightened my awareness for things that bring me joy or make me think about how I can better serve our world. And it has given me a place to share what I am finding...

Today I want to share a video that is making its rounds around the internet and on You Tube. It's five minutes. I will share my thoughts about it below, and hope you'll watch it first.

I sat entranced watching these two graceful dancers. Their bodies looked absolutely gorgeous to me. Healthy, toned, strong. Their creative expression moved me to tears. Maybe that happened for you too.

As I reflected on my tears and my feelings I noticed I was feeling such pride and love for these people who had overcome what would seem like an obvious impediment to this level of dance expression. At the age of 13 I had allowed some off-hand comments made to me about how "real dancers" have long legs derail my passion for dance. Knowing I did not have long legs and being young and impressionable, I tossed my dancing dream and my weekly lessons aside. How about having TWO legs!

So many of us have given up on our dreams because they seemed impractical and/or unrealistic. We all get to be healed just a little bit by watching something like this where the idea of limits is shattered before our eyes. And maybe we are given another chance to dust off our old dreams and breathe life into them once more.

I had a second response, one that brought more tears than the first. This response was the realization that not all that long ago, people like these two brilliant dancers would have been considered society's throwaways. They would have been deemed useless or a burden. They may have been left to die at birth or abandoned at an institution. What struck me was how brilliantly their Essence was radiating out from them as I watched. That radiance is God on Earth.

I began to think about all of the other people society often chooses to call "throwaways." The poor, the uneducated, ethnic people, gays and lesbians, people of differing faiths or world views, people with mental health issues, or severe physical challenges, those who commit crimes, welfare moms, basically anyone "not like us." Many of these people are considered the world's expendables. We kill them in war, we execute them or lock them up like animals in our "justice" system or our "institutions," we steal their resources, killing their children or dooming them and their way of life to slow death.

And just look at what can happen when the Light of God that exists in every human being is nurtured and allowed to shine despite outward appearances, despite differences. Just how much beauty, love, GOD, are we missing because we see only something useless or offensive that needs to be thrown out.

I see a day when every man, woman, and child on earth is seen for what they are in their truest nature - an expression of the Divine. I see a day when we take up our responsibility with great joy and fervor to unleash our own Divine Expression to its full magnificence and create cultures, systems, structures, and environments that are designed to support this unleashing in every person, for every child.

Some people would say this is ridiculously naive. They would point to people like Hitler and say where is there God in him. My answer is that Hitler's aren't born, they are made. WE make them.

God is born anew in every child. Just look at a newborn and tell me it's not so. Whether that child grows up knowing and embracing its magnificence, whether it is told it is the worm-ridden dust, or told it is useless, or just a simple cog in the great machinery of society and should resign itself to taking its place, is completely up to US. To each one of us.

Not just the child's parents, family, teachers, religious and political leaders. These children are all around us. They are aged 0 to 103. They dwell in each of us, now. And they hear us. In every word and deed we either affirm those around us are Divine Expressions of God or we deny it. We either feed the flame of Spirit or throw water on it.

Can you see your own fire of God burning inside you? Can you help others to see it in themselves?

Will you call out to the Light in you to come forth and shine? Will you have the courage to say yes to it and give it free reign over your life? Will join me in every word and deed urging others to see and embrace the magnificence inside them? Yes, with practice it can be done. We can and we must! There are dances to be danced, songs to be sung, love to be shared, God to be expressed...and what a world it will be! Can you see it?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Joy & Gratitude

Is it just me or does life seem to be accelerating to others as well? Today is December 10th! Where has this year gone? Now, I know that happens more and more as we age, but really, how can it be the end of 2007 already?

It was February 10th of this year that we arrived in Overland Park, Kansas with a tiny U-haul trailer filled mostly with clothes and toys. We did have a mattress, but not yet a box spring. Neither Toby nor I had work, although I had a budding business with great potential. Sophie was enrolled in a Montessori and we had an apartment and the love and warmth from our friends at our church that would grow into a loving spiritual community for us. We had the loving prayers and well wishes from people scattered across the country. And of course we had each other.

The apartment is just about completely furnished now (our new couch arrives on the 17th) and with a few more finishing touches such as paint and curtains about to happen it will be as beautiful a home as ever we have had.

Toby has a job he loves just 15 minutes away. He comes home at lunch to jog on the wooded trail that runs in front of our door. Sophie has transfered to a more traditional Montessori only 5 minutes from home, loves her teachers and is making friends. And my business has taken off beyond my dreams!

I guess even though it feels like the year has flown by, we have accomplished a lot. But the list above isn't what I am talking about.

This year, my beloved husband and I have lived through some very difficult times. Major shifts and transitions can be hard on a couple, especially when health issues complicate matters. Yet the fires we have walked through have not burned us. Rather they have strengthened us. They have melted away the dross while leaving the core of us more pure and true than ever. We have both embraced deep soul learning in the every day and in books, retreats, nature and more. We have moved ever closer to living in and from the Essence of our Being.

We have re-committed to ourselves and our relationship at a deeper level. We have grown as parents and as people. We have found ways to bless our world and we have been blessed by it - as it must be.

There can be no other response to this than great joy and gratitude. "Pinch me, I must be dreaming!" No, I am awake. I AM Awake.

Love and gratitude to all of you who have supported us so lovingly on our journey.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Radiant One: The Movie

I am so thrilled to share with you a project I have been working on for about 6 months. It's called Radiant One: The Movie.

Inspired by a short essay written by Suzanna Kennedy, I set out to make a short film. I found the dazzling artwork of Montserrat to illustrate this message, asked my friend John Hardesty to compose a score with his usual brilliance, and asked another friend Claire Papin to lend her magnificent voice. I believe the result is absolutely inspiring...I hope after you see it you will agree!

Please visit the website: www.RadiantOneTheMovie.com to learn more about the artists. You can also get yourself a DVD copy of the film and a companion meditation.

One final request - If you like the film, please help spread this message of light and love. You can email a link to the film's website to your friends and family and/or maybe post it on your blog! (It's on YouTube and Tiny Pics so it can be embedded directly - Just do a search for Radiant One to get the code or email me).

Thank you for your loving support and enjoy the film!

Infinite Joy, Love and Blessings,

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Halloween Joy

Yes I know I am a little late on this one, but I am going to invoking Mother's Privilege with today's post. And I apologize in advance to my dear husband. Toby, I love you, and these little videos were too funny to pass up! Mystery Solved!

Sophia is 3, actually almost 4 now, so this was our first real Halloween. She had three events to prepare for. I can tell you at the end of the week, I was exhausted!

Sophia decided she wanted to be the Wicked Witch of the West (from her favorite movie The Wizard of Oz). Only she would be wearing the ruby slippers having gotten them from Dorothy after all.

Now to assemble the costume: Sophia already had the slippers (from the days when Dorothy was still her heroine) and a witch hat and gown that her friend Kate had outgrown. Next we had to find the perfect broom to go with it. Oh, and who could forget the face paint for the green face!

Once those were secured, we decided we'd better have a dress rehearsal - to make sure the makeup worked. This short film is our rehearsal captured on tape! Sophia had to work at keeping her witch hat on as it was a blustery fall day.

As you can see the makeup left something to be desired so we got better makeup for the real thing. Read on...

EVENT ONE: Halloween Party At School

Blue Valley Montessori hosted an evening party on Tuesday, October 30 for the kids. Sophia was a hit as the "WW of the W" and she insisted I go as Glinda the Good Witch of the North. Here are some photos from the festivities. Notice the much brighter green make up!

EVENT TWO: Classroom Party

Sophia's teacher opted to give the kids another party on Halloween day. This time Sophia went as one of her favorite princesses, Snow White. This is a photo from last February of Sophia in her Snow White outfit.

EVENT THREE: Halloween Night

Sophia joined her friends Julia, Claire and Rachel for trick-or-treating. The girls, who are 10 and 11 (twins), had invited some other friends as well. It was a big group so Sophia had a lot to keep up with.

For this event she decided to go as Tinkerbell and wear the dress her Aunt Melanie gave her for her birthday last year (see photo).

Because it was in the upper 50's I insisted she wear a turtleneck sweater under her dress. When she balked, I gave her a choice between the sweater plus a coat or just the sweater. She happily chose the sweater, but after putting it all on declared, "This looks ridiculous!" When I asked if she was interested in adding the coat, she again was happy about the sweater (I don't know how much longer I can use this strategy before she catches on!)

Off we went to the Wakefield's house to begin the trick-or-treating. Now, I know this may be hard to believe, but as we walked to the Wakefield's, Sophia turned to me as said, "Thank you Mommy for making me wear my sweater." WOW! She actually had to connect the dots! She felt it was cold, was grateful she had her sweater, remembered I insisted she wear it, felt grateful that I had insisted, and decided to voice her gratitude! These are moments parents live for!

Finally it was time to trick-or-treat. Dad was in charge of documenting the momentous occasion. The two short videos below are the result:

Okay, we did manage to get one photo anyway:

But most importantly, Sophia had a ball. She got tons of candy (UGH!) and she lasted almost as long as the big kids!

Hope you all had a joy-filled Halloween! We certainly did!