Who To Thank For Thanksgiving

Have you ever heard the name Sarah Josepha Hale? Well, she was a writer, a poet, a magazine editor, a widow and mother of five and she was a woman on a mission.

That mission was to have an annual day of Thanksgiving to be recognized as a national holiday. For years, she wrote editorials and personal letters to lawmakers making persuasive arguments for her cause. She was so driven to see her dream become reality, she wrote this letter to President Lincoln.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

I’m so inspired by Sarah’s story, the guts of this single mother. A woman who gave God what she had –  her pen, her words and her passion – and he blessed her efforts.

Sarah is a glowing example of how someone can make a difference by allowing the spark of a noble passion to burn bright enough for others to see. And we who have seen are beneficiaries of her vision to unify us in one common purpose:

“THANKSGIVING DAY is the national pledge of Christian faith in God, acknowledging him as the dispenser of blessings.” (S.J.Hale, 1852)

This Thanksgiving, let us accept the gracious invitation of President Lincoln to gather together and offer up grateful praises to our God for all the blessings he has given us. And we might also remember to thank our Creator for the legacy of a woman named Sarah who never gave up and whose hard work and determination paid off. A great lesson to all of us who would dare to dream.

Click Here to watch a lovely little video on the true meaning of Thanksgiving.

“I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.” U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, 1863

Window Views

There is a strange wind blowing through here. From where I sit, looking out my window, I sense change coming to my little corner of the world.

I’ve been dreaming again and this time the surge of steel will and determination seems stronger than before. Like it’s now or never. Like my entire life will be defined by these next steps.

This time, I’m reaching for the door. I am leaving behind the disappointment of dreams deferred. Leaving heart-walls and forging ahead. Praying that God will grant me mercy to forgive myself for the lost years and give me wisdom to carve a new path leading to the land of the life I was always meant to live.

I feel Him take my trembling hand and lead me gently along the way. And, as He guides me over hills of regret, and through forests of fear, and around curves of self-doubt, He whispers peace. A calm settles over me like the first Autumn breeze signaling summer’s end. And I keep going because I know wherever He leads is best.

My heart thrills at the thought that there may yet be hope. Hope, that when I get where I’m going, I’ll be greeted by the me I was always meant to be. Comforted by the welcoming smile of my Heavenly Father, watching from the window, arms wide open.

The above is shared at the creative prompting of Cassandra over at Moonboat Cafe who challenged her readers to write about the view from their own window. If you would like to share your view, click here to visit her blog.

Journey to the Past

Maybe a tiny bit late for a 4th of July posting, but I wanted to share these photos and ponderings from my New York adventure this summer…

I am here. Here in the land of glittery billboards and twinkling lights revealing the dust and grit of the worn and ragged streets below.

Streets filled with people on a mission. With somewhere to be – moving fast. pushing. shoving. Here, my beating heart aligns with the racing rhythm of this city, alive with sound and movement and story. Like a Broadway musical.

I observe the diverse cast of characters. Industry and technology starring alongside art and creativity and the people that dream of making dreams come true.

But, on the water, the pace slows. And, as I approach the iconic statue, I’m reminded of the others. Those dreamers of long ago. Those who risked everything for a chance to dream.

Their journey brought them here. To a land of opportunity. After many long days at sea, they entered this place to stand in even longer lines, amidst a sea of other anxious faces awaiting their chance at freedom.

I step off the boat and find my feet stepping where they stepped, moving in the same direction as these brave people, the ghosts of the past surrounding me now. Beckoning me to listen to their stories. Imploring me to learn. And I do.

I study fading pictures of people who wore no smiles, only a faint glimmer of hope in their eyes. And, yet, they came. They moved as fast as they could. pushing. shoving. Their fighting spirit keeping them alive, fed by a desire for better. brighter. happier.

And, as the sun sets on my journey to the past, I contemplate my own desires.

My desire – not mine alone but one shared by so many – for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. For undaunted dreams and unfettered future.

And a place to breathe free.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Excerpt from the sonnet, A New Colossus, written by Emma Lazarus and displayed inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

Former Theater Director Starts Nonprofit to Help the Poor Grow Their Own Food

Here’s a story that reminds us of what happens when the seed of inspiration is nurtured. We all know that plants need sunlight and water to grow. Likewise, a dream needs to be brought out of the shadows into the light of day so that it can truly shine. And, having been watered with the sweat of hard work and determination, it begins to emerge, bearing it’s fruit in the bountiful garden of life’s greatest joys.

When I read about Raul Lozano and his dream to teach the poor how to grow vegetables in their own backyards, I was struck immediately by the ingenuity of the idea itself as well as Mr. Lazano’s fearless approach to pursuing his passion. Far too often, too many of us surrender our “lightbulb moments” to the darkness of disbelief. But, this man had an idea and decided to forge ahead by asking himself the simple question, “Why can’t I?”

That one, small question led him to embark on a new journey that would benefit his community in a big way. His non-profit, La Mesa Verde, provides planter boxes and other supplies to needy families along with gardening and nutrition classes. This helps the families to save money, eat healthier and feel encouraged about being able to do something that will better their circumstances.

What if we, too, acted on our convictions and put hands and feet to our dreams? What if, instead of fearing failure, we began to fear not trying at all? Why couldn’t we experience the profound joy of pursuing our dreams and watching them grow into a beautiful reality? Indeed, why can’t we?

To read the full story, click on the link below.

Former Theater Director Starts Nonprofit to Help the Poor Grow Their Own Food