Whimsy and wonderings about everyday life

The doors of hope

  “Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope.…It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope.”           

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger                                     

Hope


Have you ever seen a child alight with pure hope so powerful, so trusting, you’ll do whatever it takes to make his or her dream come true?

 This is the season of hope for the child within each of us. Perhaps, just for today, you might choose to focus on the ideal of the rebirth each year of the long ago new idea, of perfect, unconditional love. Because if you reject the focus on the imperfect way we play this ideal out, just for today, you might find something of value for yourself  in the truth that remains.

Just think about the ideal of perfect, unconditional love, itself.

But, you say, Christianity was responsible for the deaths of thousands. Millions. Therefore, God must not exist, and perfect, unconditional love is a myth.

Radical Islamists brought down the twin towers in the name of religion. Therefore, God must not exist, and perfect, unconditional love is a myth.

Some fundamentalists spew hate at gays and lesbians and use the Bible to justify their beliefs. Therefore, God must not exist, and perfect, unconditional love is a myth.

Jews…Hindus…Buddhists…everyone has done bad things in the name of their religion. And, by the way, I eat pork, and the Bible says not to do that. Therefore God must not exist. Perfect, unconditional love is a myth.

Bad things happen. People hate other people. Therefore God must not exist. Perfect, unconditional love is a myth.

Isn’t that a bunch of rubbish when we write it out? Or, more pithily, as Scrooge said, “Bah. Humbug.”

Bad things happen. Perfect, unconditional love exists. It is abundant and available in the face of scarcity, of evil, of those bad things. It encourages the abundant, innate goodness in each of us in the face of evil.  It gives us the strength to comfort each other in the face of trouble. To help when bad things happen. To learn, to remember,  and to avert future disaster. To connect with each other. To be one. To heal. To hope.

Perfect, unconditional love encourages and forgives.  Always and everywhere. It is the  purest essence of God.  Perhaps, this year, spend a little time looking into what your concept of God is. Look at the god you don’t believe in. What *do* you believe in?  What have others discovered in the ongoing search, dating back to the beginning of recorded history, for a greater meaning beyond day-to-day, self absorbed survival?

Tap into the ideal this season. Suspend disbelief. Open up. See your life begin to transform, over time, into something fine, made of hope, love and generosity. A happy life, even with the inevitable sorrow and pain that comes with openness. A sacred life. A courageous life. A quite amazing and rewarding life. Not care-free, but cared-for, and surrounded by the certainty of unconditional love – which, is simply perfect.

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Colorado Gives Day

Check out what Giving First is up to these days. December 4 is Colorado Gives Day

From the site:

Colorado Gives Day is an initiative to increase philanthropy in Colorado through online giving. Presented by Community First Foundation and FirstBank, Colorado Gives Day will take place during a 24-hour period on Tuesday, December 4, 2012. Donations will be accepted through the website GivingFirst.org, with a goal to inspire and unite Coloradans in supporting local nonprofits.

What a great idea! And, if you look at the Giving First website – what a great website! You can search for a nonprofit to support by zip code or by function. You can register your own nonprofit for the site. You can sign up you or your group to host a fundraiser. They even highlight fundraisers that are close to making their goals.

Colorado Gives is December 4. Donate or fundraise for your favorite cause.

Colorado Gives is December 4. Donate or raise funds for your favorite cause.

Eliana here is five years old and raising $180 to help build a community center. She states that she wants to learn about giving as a multiplier of chai (life in Hebrew.) She is almost to $180 as I write this. Sure, someone helped her write her goal. But she will remember that she raised what must seem like an impossible amount of money , when she was five years old, forever. I did not change the world at all when I was five – how about you? Sites like this make a difference. Maybe each of us can be inspired to do so as well?

 

“All of the places of our lives are sanctuaries; some of them just happen to have steeples. And all of the people in our lives are saints; it is just that some of them have day jobs, and most will never have feast days named for them.”
— Robert Benson in Between the Dreaming and the Coming True

Grandmommy

Do you tend to look for the good in people or more typically try to find the bad in a ceaseless game of one-upsmanship? I think we’re biologically geared toward the latter. If we can find flaws in others, then we are, perhaps, not as woeful as we suspect.

But, like the choice to search for the Divine in life, looking for the good in others is a conscious choice and it takes commitment and perseverance. I find that I cannot see the good in others as clearly when I am driving. Or in Walmart. However, I can see it vividly in a nursing home. In a preschool. In a church service. Whenever I see two people who are tender with each other, for whatever reason. When someone is unexpectedly kind to me. When my son stirs on a lazy weekend morning and sleepily smiles at me –  before he awakened enough to raise the gates of his teenage defenses against the slings and arrows of the surly world.

There are saints around us everywhere, every day. Each of us is one. Each of us responds, when called, with our better nature.  You’ve done it before. I’ve done it before. Maybe next time, I won’t wait to be asked, but just step in and give. How about you?

Thinking of those affected by Hurricane Sandy

Here are some suggestions on how to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy both here in the United States and in the Caribbean.

1. Give blood. The Red Cross had to temporarily close 100 centers because of the storm, creating a shortage of blood. Donating today would be an immediate gift.

Bonfils coordinates blood drives locally around Castle Rock. You can see and register for upcoming drives here (and there is one at St Francis on November 4): . The phone number for Bonfils is 303-363-2300. You can also give blood at Children’s Hospital and Presbyterian/St Luke’s..

The Mile High Red Cross chapter contact information is: (303) 722-7474. Address: 444 Sherman St, Denver, CO 80203.

2. Support the agencies directly providing food and shelter to the victims, such as the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. If you know of more, please let us know. Other agencies specialize in aid to those who are particularly vulnerable, such as children (Save the Children and WorldVision) and animals (The Humane Society of America.) Groups that have already started putting together and dispatching emergency kits, food and medical supplies include AmeriCaresDirect Relief International and Feeding America. Those who have put teams to work in the field include Team Rubicon and Samaritan’s Purse. In the Caribbean, Operation USA and the International Medical Corps have volunteers in place lending a hand to the needy, according to news reports.

3. Keep everyone affected in your thoughts and prayers. Obviously, storm damage does not go away overnight. In Haiti, 370,000 people still live in tent cities three years after the devastating earthquake that took so many lives and destroyed the country. Now, between the tropical storm in August and Sandy, their crops have been ruined and a cholera epidemic is threatening those who still struggle to simply subsist in the tent cities. In the Northeast United States, six million people are without power as I write this. There are 18 deaths that we know of. Over 13,000 flights have been cancelled, so countless people are stranded. Businesses and schools are temporarily shuttered, and some small businesses will be critically affected by the damage. The New Jersey shoreline has been devastated, and no one knows how long it will take and how much it will cost to rebuild.

4. Keep yourself safe. Watch this video for our own winter weather: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knLErFziUl8&feature=youtu.be. Most of it seems obvious to us, experienced and hardy Coloradoans that we are. But I suspect many of us have let our disaster kits lapse on occasion. Perhaps we’ve left without enough layers – or even without a coat – on a hasty last minute trip to the grocery store before a looming storm.  Please take a minute to make sure you’re ready for winter — and for whatever else might surprise us when we least expect it.

Ready Colorado (http://www.readycolorado.com/) was created by a group of public and private companies that came together to help Colorado residents make sure we are ready in case of a natural or man-made disaster. Perhaps you’ll find it of use.

For example, here are some handy tips on winterizing your house to save money and keep you warm.

Here are some tips on building a disaster kit.

You can create a quick and handy plan for your pets or livestock.

And, here is a guide to creating the entire disaster plan.

There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been!

Percy Bysshe Shelley

A walk in the woods of Sedalia, Colorado

A walk in the woods of Sedalia, Colorado


Enjoy this tribute to this beautiful autumn season in Colorado. This Rocky Mountain season is entirely too short, but while fall is here, it is glorious.  it’s a riot of colors, each more vivid than the last. The air is as crisp as the apples we use for the cider we sip at night. The days are made for hiking, and we tromp through the leaves, careless of the noise,unless we happen upon a mob of deer or a rafter of turkeys. As heedless as we are, until they see us, that is, they’re just trying to get their last good meals in before winter blankets the greenery and feeding becomes more scarce.

We sit by our evening fire, the flames a welcome novelty after the self-made heat of the recent summer. The winter snow is both a receding memory and something to anticipate anew. Snowshoeing will be fun this year.

 

“Never squander an opportunity to tell someone you love or appreciate them.”

A beautiful sentiment, as are any of the many fine quotes you’ll find on and about the Internet and in inspirational books and such. But no one seems to know Kelly Ann Rothaus. Do you?

Handsome, but hot, Australian shepherd Niko prior to his grooming.

Handsome, but hot, Niko prior to his grooming.

For me, that number is for Tracey at Douglas County Animal Hospital in Castle Rock. She is the very talented woman who grooms our dog. We have an Australian shepherd, pictured above, pre-grooming. She recently did an amazing job clipping his coat so he can stay cooler during this hellishly hot Colorado summer. So I highly recommend Tracey, and her contact information, for your future reference and mine, is as follows:

531 Jerry St

Castle Rock CO 80104

Boarding and grooming: 303-663-1621

Hospital: 303.688.2480

Handsome ol' Niko, our Australian shepherd, after his grooming by Tracey.

Handsome ol’ Niko after his grooming by Tracey.

His hair may be short, but he is still a beautiful dog.

His hair may be short, but he is still a beautiful dog.