Give because WE have been given much


This time of year makes me truly reflect on the many things I am grateful for. I think my heart gets to a place of deeper meaning, of stepping more outside of myself and wanting to do more for others. I think we all begin to feel this sense of holiday spirit. We gather with our families, grateful to have family. We see fall colors and are grateful to be given the gift of seeing. We see the seasons change and are grateful for change within our own lives. We sit together and give thanks.

I know for me, I especially want to do more, to serve, to be an instrument in God’s hands, so I decided that I wanted to create a list of opportunities for all of us to GIVE, because WE have all been given much.  I hope you will look at this list and find an opportunity or two that your family can embrace together. I hope you will find a little more service this holiday season, so when you are sitting down with your family, your heart will be even more full of giving, of love and grateful for the abundance in your own lives.  Peace to all of you this beautiful holiday season.

Some fun ideas to share with your families:  Spread the LOVE. If there are some ideas you like—share them with your friends and family and make the chain of LOVE even bigger.


Samaritan’s Purse: Operation Christmas Child.  I LOVED this idea because it is not hard to do, benefits children around the world and will bring smiles to all who open.  You literally fill a shoebox with small gifts for children and then send it. You can even pay a little extra $ to track it and discover the destination it is going. I think it would be a great project to do with your family just before Thanksgiving. The drop off dates are just before Thanksgiving Nov 16-23. Check out the link to this great project.


Create No-Sew Fleece Blankets for groups like Project Linus, Wrap them in Love, Stitches from the Heart, Binky Patrol to name a few.


Make cards to send some LOVE: make cards for kids in the hospital  Write a letter to a woman with breast cancer at or fill out a letter online to servicemen at


Donate items for The Hugs Project: They are looking for a variety of items including handmade christmas ornaments and stockings, food items, socks, etc. They create care packages for troops   here is a link to the full item list of what they are looking for


SoleHope: Makes shoes out of jeans for Kids in Uganda.


Make a dog treats for a local shelter: here is a recipe from the Humane Society


Make place mats or decorate lunch bags for Meals on Wheels  Make sure you contact your local area to find out their specific needs.


Make something homemade to help: Here is a list of handmade items that are accepted by a variety of charities.


Make a bird feeder to feed the birds in your backyard–that is giving too!  Here are some directions:


Well, I hope these ideas get you started to giving of yourselves even more during the upcoming holiday seasons. Remember, it is easier to give with a grateful heart.

Peace to you. -H

What do you want for your LIFE!!

I heard on a podcast recently a great thought that I wanted to share with all of you…it only makes sense, we always ask, “What do you want for Christmas,” “What do you want for your birthday,” “What do you want for your wedding”…I think we should take this questioning and ask ourselves WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR YOUR LIFE!!

I understand this is a very loaded question for many, but if you make it as easy as every other question above, WOW, what our worlds would look like!! We would look at our lives in small questions, close goals, simple things that we wish for our life right now. Think about it, when someone asks you a sincere request for an answer for something you would like, for say, your birthday, you genuinely take a moment and can think of something you would like or wish for.

Now, if you could NOT look at your life like a big, huge puzzle that doesn’t have all the pieces yet and begin to look at it like a wish you would make for a Christmas or birthday present, what a gift that would be for your life.

Think about it right now!! What would you wish for? What little desires would bubble up to the surface?

Okay, so now I am going to give you a couple of ideas to help you realize these hidden wishes…


Wish upon a star: Tonight, or the next star filled night, I want you to go outside and look up to the sky. I want you to see all the sparkling white lights that are begging you to make a wish. Pick out a few of the brightest looking stars and begin to make wishes. Say them out loud so your heart hears them. Point to them and begin to go within and find those lost gems inside that want to be free. Let your mind wander and find those thoughts and ideas that you are the most drawn to for your life.


Wishing Cake: One other idea. Go to the grocery store and buy yourself a wishing cake. You could also make your own. It doesn’t have to be big, just big enough to put in a number of candles. Now, take it home and line it with a couple rows of candles. As your light them begin to ponder things you would like to wish into your life. As you begin to think of each wish, say it out loud and blow out a candle.

These ideas should get you seeing and believing in wishing for the things you really want for your life.

Another idea: Make it a family affair and have everyone take turns wishing on stars and candles. It would be fun to hear one anthers wishes, hopes, dreams and help them to realize them for their life.


Yoko Ono had an idea: A Wishing Tree…Write your wish on a piece of paper. Hang the paper on the wishing tree. Ask a friend to do the same. Keep wishing.

Happy wishing. -H


Traditions to bring people together 2

For this post I am again going to take from some of the religious traditions that were shared on Oprah’s Belief series and then share some of my own ideas of how you could incorporate the ideas into your world. Enjoy.


Zen Buddhist Lotus Flower: In one part of the series you were able to catch a glimpse into the life and traditions of Zen Monks. They shared a special lantern celebration.  I did a little bit of my own research and found The Lotus Lantern Festival that celebrates Buddha’s birthday. It is traditionally called the Yeondeunghoe (Lotus Lantern Festival) and was originally more of a religious and national event, not like a festival.  Here is a link to give you an idea of what it is like. It looks amazing–lanterns take the form of fruits, animals…it looks beautiful. People can even make their own lanterns.

In Buddhism the lotus is a symbol of the true nature of beings, which remains unstained by the mud of the world and is realized through enlightenment. Traditionally the lotus (“padma’’) is a very important symbol in India and for Buddhism. The lotus has been ascribed with special meaning since the time of ancient Indian mythology.
The lotus flower grows in muddy water and rises above the surface to bloom with remarkable beauty. The flower closes and sinks underwater at night, to rise and open again at dawn. Untouched by impurity, the lotus symbolizes the purity of heart and mind.*taken from      

My idea:   Create your own lotus lanterns with your family & then hang them somewhere special–above the dinner table, outside in a tree, etc.  Here is a Youtube with an idea of how to make them      This may be a great idea for a New Year celebration. You could create lanterns & even write something on them–hopes for the new year, gratitude for things from this previous year, dreams, desires, etc.


Bringing people together through music: In the series it explained how Israel is a place torn apart by religious separation, but luckily a music group was bringing together young people from different religions and having them work together to create something beautiful–music.      Music has a power all its own–it heals, it transcends, it liberates, it inspires, it brings people together. It is a heavenly gift that swells hearts here on earth.

My idea: Step out of your usual music comfort, listen to something completely new, maybe even foreign and see how you feel. Music can have positive and negative effects, so make sure you select genres that lift and inspire the soul. Also, step out of your music comfort by attending a local concert and experience the symphonic melodies first hand. Try it out and see how you feel.


Trust yourself: This part of the series I can honestly say, I was yelling at the television. I could not believe this guy would free climb (no ropes or anything) to such incredible heights. It was somewhat terrifying. You would definitely have to have tremendous faith in your personal belief in what you could do. One slip–you would be gone.

My idea: Do something that you have never tried or something that scares you. When you are able to accomplish a personal hurdle, you definitely feel you have reached a higher point for yourself. When you continue to trust your instincts, feelings, gut, desires, etc. you will be in a better personal place.


Pray: Prayer was a huge message throughout the series. Whether it was the woman with cancer and was surrounded in a prayer circle to people praying in a sacred place, prayer beads to traditional dances that went on for days…prayer was shared in every culture and religion. It was a beautiful sentiment.  Prayer I believe holds a very strong gift, whether you pray alone or in a group, there are answers to what you need.

My idea: Give thanks in all you do. Hold a prayer in your heart. If you have a big decision or struggle you are facing, do not be afraid to ask others to help pray for you and your situation. Have faith and know you are not alone. I just read a great story this morning that shares some great examples of prayers being heard. Check it out—

Well, I hope these ideas help you to have a beautiful day.  Peace to you. -H

Traditions to bring People Together

After watching Oprah’s BELIEF series I am filled with awe and wonder of the many different places, traditions, religions, beliefs, and the many ways people strive to connect. It was so interesting, fascinating and I walked away from the week more aware, inspired, awe struck and wanting to do more to connect with those around me.

SO, I thought I would put together a list of ideas that could bring families closer together with the upcoming holiday seasons ahead.

I am going to list out celebration ideas (primarily from Belief) and from around the world and then put my own twist on them and how you could do them with your families.


Holi: *is a Spring festival in india, also knows as the festival of colors or the festival of love. The night before the celebrations there is a Holika bonfire where people gather, sing and dance. The next morning is a free-for-all carnival of colors, where participants play, chase and color each other with dry powder and colored water. This festival typically comes in March or February. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, the end of winter and a day to meet others, play, laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships *taken from wikpedia

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My ideas: For a winter fest you could invite friends and family over while it is light out, invite them to bring food and then have everyone share tubes of food coloring and color the snow around the yard or take it to the mountains. Have everyone write words, make hearts, just color the snow & then when everyone is done turn it into a big, colorful snow ball fight. Then make a big bonfire and have everyone warm up around the fire.

You could also do the same idea in the Spring, but use chalk dust and a picnic setting.


Mandala: In the movie Belief there was a beautiful part of the series where a group of Monks created a gorgeous mandala out of sand. They took hours to perfect every detail and it was a beautiful work of art. But, to them the piece was not complete until it was swept into an urn and dumped into a river to complete its circle. *Both Navajo Indians and Tibetan monks create sand mandalas to demonstrate the impermanence of life.  The word “mandala” is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean “circle,” a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself–a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds. Describing both material and non-material realities, the mandala appears in all aspects of life: the celestial circles we call earth, sun, and moon, as well as conceptual circles of friends, family, and community.*taken from mandalaproject


My ideas: You could gather family or friends together and create a group mandala project—One year I had my family at a beach and we gathered up a huge number of rocks and made a giant heart on the beach. It was a very fun and unifying experience. I have also gathered family around and handed out coloring pages of various mandala drawings. We all sat for hours chatting and coloring like little children. It is very calming to the mind.  *Carl Jung said that a mandala symbolizes “a safe refuge of inner reconciliation and wholeness.”

You could also take fall or winter items (pine cones, leaves, needles, grasses, etc) and make your own natural pattern with the items from a forest floor.


A Pilgrimage: In the movie Belief there were many different people from different religions who would do personal pilgrimages—some were to holy lands, others were 500 miles walks, while another was a personal 3 day quest of fast and faith.  I was moved by all the stories, but one stands out in my mind–the 65 year old man who did not love himself, was broken hearted and seeking peace on a 500 mile personal pilgrimage. I thought to myself, “could I do that? How could I do something like that closer to home?”


My ideas: Maybe you pick a mountain near your home you could climb together as a family or alone to find some meaning. Maybe you find a walking trail that goes for miles and miles and commit to a distance that will bring you closer to…God, your family, yourself. I do think walking is one of the best types of meditation, so why not take a day, a week, a week end to get quiet, to go within or to experience with those closest to you.     I remember one of my only memories of going to the mountains with my family as a child, we arrived at the base of a small mountain. My Dad told all of us kids that we were going to climb to the top. As kids, we whined and looked at this mountain as the toughest challenge we had ever faced. We walked and walked and finally all made it up the mountain together. When we were at the top, we each found a special rock and we made our own family, rock monument. We were so proud that we made it to the top together. It will be a forever memory.


History: There was an Aboriginal man in the Australian outback that was leaving his grandson with ancient songs and a trek that told stories about their ancestors. The stories and songs were part of the oldest religion in the world, so the grandfather felt a huge responsibility to pass these along to his grandson, so the stories will continue to live on.


My ideas: We each have stories that we are told, lullabies that are sung, pieces that have been woven from years and years of history, people, family, places…In such a digital age, we have abundant resources to find stories from the past, to write our own stories down, to encourage our children to write their stories for those who follow.  For my daughter’s 12 year Thanksgiving gift, I have created pages for her to write her own story, to share her own feelings of where she is at, to share her future dreams, to connect with who she is and wants to become. I gave my daughter a journal when she was 8 filled with questions. I am giving my husband a journal to write down his story that is filled with prompts and questions so that his daughter and generations after will hear his stories.   I write a letter to my daughter every 6 months & will give them all to her when she is 18.  Every year at Thanksgiving I make a photo book and gift it to our daughter with a special letter and images from the previous year—Giving Thanks that she was part of our life.

Just last night my husbands mother had laid out a small shrine of items that were her fathers. She had them neatly organized with special belt buckles that were treasured, a tin of matches, old pictures, a soap dish, a coin purse, a shaving bowl, bolo tie…treasures that she had been keeping to pass on to her children. Items that reminded everyone of this man who had passed on, but seemed to bring up a treasured past of memories. My husband was like a little kid remembering his beloved grandpa. He slowly looked at each item being taken back to a different time. The things that live on are truly the memories, the stories, the songs, the little details.

Well, Stay tuned. I think I am going to continue this week with more traditions and ideas inspired from the movie, Belief. I have done previous posts on traditions, so check them out too.  I will do another post later this week with more ideas.

Have a beautiful day. -H

Lessons learned from the movie Pan


It is the very beginning of the story of Peter Pan. Because every legend has a beginning and this one is pretty special. It is a fun ride full of life lessons, great characters (I especially LOVE Levi who plays Peter–he did a great job–they all did), beautiful images, great story line, a great bad guy (Hugh Jackman–love him—make sure you see the below link about him and his beliefs. great), and a happy ending. You will have to see it  for yourself. Enjoy. Here are some lessons/quotes from the movie.


TRUST. Trust is always a major theme in any Pan movie. Peter must learn to trust himself and believe in order to fly.          I think we all need to gain some of this personal confidence in our own lives. If we do not know and understand ourselves, our capabilities, our gifts, our talents, our weaknesses, our strengths, our past…who will. We will walk aimless unless we begin to see and believe in the amazing person we are. There is only one of each of us in the whole world. Live it! Trust it!


TRUSTING OTHERS. This was also a theme throughout the movie. Peter had to learn how to begin to trust others, to trust they were on his side and had his back.          We all go through this with friends and family. It is through struggles that we begin to know who are true friends are and who has our back.


WHO AM I.  Peter: Who the bloody hell am I?  Hook: You can go feel this way for yourself as long as you want, kid. But knowing where you’re from, that’s half of knowing who you are—that’s more than what most of us here will ever know! At least you know where you’ve come from. Born to a warrior, heir to a prince, does that mean you’re the One? I don’t know. I don’t know if there is a One. I do know that if you aren’t the guy, and you’re just you, maybe that’s enough.          This is an age old question, Who am I. People have been seekers for lifetimes.  I like this quote because it states, no matter who you are, where you come from, maybe that is enough. That is such a strong, bold statement. No matter what!! You are enough. We are each like Peter—born, heir to a prince from a place of heavenly origin. We can’t live small. We must know and believe that we are enough to do great things.


BELIEVE.  Peter: What if I fail to fulfill the prophecy?   Tiger Lily: What if you fail to try? If you don’t believe, Peter, then neither will they.          It all begins and ends with each one of us. If we do not see power and beauty within ourself than who are we to ask someone else to see it.


HAPPY THOUGHTS. Think a happy thought.  I thought this was an ironic line in the movie because just before Blackbeard was to kill someone, or try to kill someone (Peter), he would say, THink a happy thought.          We have been told this time and time again throughout our lives…be positive, think happy thoughts…but in this movie this line was pushed just before death. In the movie this was the time of greatest fear. At one point ***movie spoiler***Peter was pushed to his death, but was able to break through the fear filled moment and think of a happy thought, to believe in something greater and he was then able to fly.  If we were able to transcend above the fear with happy thoughts, just think where the world would be.


SAFE AND SECURE. There was a point in the movie where Peter, Tiger Lily and Hook all had to venture in a stick raft to safety. No matter what happened Peter found safety and security.          I think our lives would be even better if we knew we were safe and sound, no matter what. If we had the faith and knowing that we were protected by angels and a knowing that God wanted only good for us. This is easier said than done. But, we can begin each day trying to trust in this knowing. It is a start.


A MOTHER’S LOVE & Promise: I will see you again, in this world or another. My dearest Peter. I long for the day I can come back for you and explain everything. You are extraordinary. More than you can imagine. I promise that you will see me again.          If each mother could send her child a genuine gift of love & confidence, what a gift that would be. Peter had a tremendous confidence because he had hope of a loving mother.  As mothers, we owe it to our children to give them a place of love, safety and a belief in them that cannot be replaced by the world.

25_11_14_1_ntsThis was a fun adventure for the family. It definitely has some dark parts for little children, but it is a whimsical story. It was a great movie and it also had some great music on the soundtrack by Lily Allen. The characters were wonderful, the sets beautiful and well done, amazing flying ships…A FUN ADVENTURE! Go see it and make your own review!!

1225111816438979-mmmainI LOVE Hugh Jackman & he did his role very well. He is a great man on and off screen. I read a great article about him and his Christian beliefs and how the impact his work and the man he is. It is a great read. Here is the link to that article.

Wanted all Seekers


I am blessed beyond belief. -Hunter Hayes     I have a strong belief that there is a God or Higher Power. I think that if you have a strong belief in that, then you won’t feel alone in life and you will feel you can get through anything.  -Alana Stewart     Always believe something wonderful is about to happen.    I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. -Gerry Spence     Everything is possible for him who believes.

Hello. I don’t know about you, but I have been seeking good things for a very long time, so any time I am soul stirred or find myself wanting to understand the world better, I look to the sky. the stars, the deeper beauty.

I recently heard about Oprah’s latest project, BELIEF. Some of you may love Oprah or not, but I don’t think anyone would argue that she has done a lot of good in the world. So, when I saw her article about her “love note to viewers”—a special television series that took three years to make, 6 continents to visit, 800 total hours of footage, 28 languages to create the 7 hour series, I was interested.

BELIEF began last night and I wanted to see the stories, the depth, the questions, the answers of different religions, different people on their own spiritual quest in different parts of the world. It was just that, an hour of 4 different peoples stories about coming of age, making it through struggle, seeking through personal pilgrimage and a 100 mile journey to save a 50,000 year old tribal religion. The cinematography was beautiful, the stories captured, the wisdom heard.

If you are interested in seeing different religions from all around the world, hearing heart felt personal stories of others who are seeking, then you may want to turn the series on. It is on this week on Oprah’s channel OWN. I heard or read somewhere that Oprah spent her own money on the project because she believed so strongly in it. I think she wanted to give the world a precious gift to the world. Thanks Oprah.

Here is a little glimpse of the series…take a look.

What example are you to your kids?


The last few weeks have been an emotional, roller coaster ride with my sweet daughter who entered middle school this year. Every Monday she would wake up in tears, with a face terrified of what lie ahead of her day. After the 4th week of tears, I decided to give her the day, to listen to her, to try and understand where she was and what she needed as a little person. The day consisted of touring another nearby, smaller school,  talking to one of my sisters who through her middle school years begged our mom to home school her, looking online for schooling from home options, and just taking the time to listen and try to understand her feelings.

My daughter has suffered with different anxieties her entire childhood, which led to different ticks, nail biting, lip chewing, text anxiety, social anxiety…I have been a mother trying to find ways to help her cope all through her schooling.   I think I just could not bare to see her suffer any longer and I wanted to try and understand, to respect the needs of this little person.

The conclusion: I pulled her out of her school within three days and signed her up for an online academy that we are testing out until December. Then, in January she has to attend 2 classes in the public school for social interaction while still working her online academy. I would not suggest this to everyone, but I knew my daughter might be a great fit for a program that she could work at her own pace, communicate on a daily basis with her teachers and just feel personal responsibility for herself. So far, it has been a great experience.

My personal pain: My husband has struggled since day one and is having a hard time understanding or seeing the logic in the situation. It has been numerous, intense conversations. My family also has had their opinions and feelings. It has been a tough few weeks.

My faith: As her mother I decided to try and give this little person a voice, to respect her feelings, to try and understand where she is at during this difficult age. I see a little girl that is torn between feeling younger and being thrown into a world where little girls are wearing make-up, flirting with boys, not caring about school or respecting their teachers and she is scared.

Now, I have heard it from everyone!!—we all had to go through this tough age, to be scared, to go any way. But, my heart wanted to listen and respect where this little person was and stand up for her. I did not want to let the world bully away her feelings. I did not want to toss aside respecting another soul and just tell her to tough it out.

We are parents!! If we do not listen and try to see and understand where our children are coming from. Who will they turn to in times of need? If we do not respect their feelings of need and nurture, who will?

Now, I know some of you out there will not agree with me, but you are not my daughter’s mother. You each have your own children to raise. Each child is different, each child has their own strengths, weaknesses, potential…I know my daughters strengths—she is self-motivated, driven, school focused and works so hard. She was feeling lost in a sea of faces, no connection to her teachers, feeling overwhelmed by the kids around her who did not care about school or who used her because “she was smart & could do the work.”

We need to do all we can to protect these little people and lift them up & believe in them & what they are capable of. They need to feel that we listen, that we care, that we are trying to guide them to our best ability. That is what I am trying to do.

I am trying to be an example to her to listen to her inner guidance, to follow her feelings, to step out of the norm if you need to so that you can find yourself a little more clearly. If we cannot respect and be an example to our kids, who will?

tara-whitney-quote1(pp_w540_h321)Here is a great quote to exemplify my thoughts…

Every child is a soul with a different growth rate and with a potential that is varied and vast. Respecting the needs of our little ones from a very early age, listening to their unique voices, hearing their wants will assure them that no matter how tiny they are somebody will kneel down to listen. Respecting the potential that his hidden within each child.

Practicing conscious parenting you allow your children to develop without forcing down their throats the magic of competition, expectations, exam fevers. Do not push, press or force them into unnecessary ‘speedy’ growth, unnecessary sufferings and pressures. Let the children’s emotional body develop at its own pace, let their physical body stay strong and fear-less, let their mental growth be inspired and full of wonder.  -Nuit

20130420-iyanla-ep117-quotes-8-600x411 Good-parenting-quotes

I hope you look at your children a little more closely today & try to see one need they may have. Follow your heart and give them an extra hug, take them on a mommy/missy date, sit down and just talk, go on a walk together, tell jokes, learn something new together, just listen, just look at them closely and ask them—what do you need?? what can I do for you?

Have a beautiful day. Peace to you.  -H


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