Book Club (“Blue”) by Danielle Steel – Finding Hope in the Heart of Darkness.

 

I found some things that had inspired me and I was happy to find. And I thought I’d share … with you here, about love, and life.

One was written by Mary Baker Eddy: “I make strong demands on love, call for active witnesses to prove it, and noble sacrifices and grand achievements as its results. Unless these appear, I cast aside the word as a sham and counterfeit, having no ring of the true metal. Love cannot be a mere abstraction, or goodness without activity and power”.  I like that one a lot.

Danielle Steel

The reality of homelessness landed squarely in my lap one dark December day 10 years ago. Despite all our efforts to prevent it, after three previous attempts, my much-loved 19-year-old son had committed suicide three months before, after suffering from bipolar disease all his life.

My husband left me shortly after, and despite the enormous blessing of eight wonderful surviving children, I was devastated.

I went to church, trying to pray about who I could help who was more miserable than I. The message came to help the homeless. I didn’t want to hear it. Homeless people had always scared me. My son Nick was never homeless, but had great compassion for them. Finally, grudgingly and nervously, I embarked on what I hoped would be a one-time mission. Instead, it became a labor of love that changed my life.

Dealing with homelessness feels like emptying the ocean with a thimble. But sometimes making a difference in the world, a big difference, happens one person at a time.

“In my earliest days on the streets, on a night when several disturbing-looking people ran up to me, I pulled myself together and thought, If Jesus came to me looking like this man, would I run? Or would I stand right where I am, face him, and embrace him? I forced myself to see Jesus in him every time I saw someone who scared me, and eventually I felt blessed, not frightened. And the people who seemed so upsetting to me melted into kind people, who welcomed us into their world. That vision worked for me.”

Danielle Steel

Blue by Danielle Steel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a VERY exciting year for me, with 6 new books being published throughout 2016. The first one, BLUE, will be published in hardcover on January 19th. It’s a very meaningful book because it is about two people who have lost hope. One has lost her family in a car accident a few years before, when her husband and three year-old son died. Since then, she has become a human rights worker, dedicated to helping people around the globe who are in dire situations, and giving up her personal life for them. The other main character in the book is a 13 year-old boy named “Blue” (because he has brilliant blue eyes.) He is homeless, living on the streets, with no family to speak of, and little hope of finding his way out of the maze in which he seems to be trapped.

When the two meet at the beginning of the book, right before Christmas, both are at low ebb in their lives, and each impacts the other in powerful positive ways. They change each other’s lives in ways they never could have expected. One chance meeting between a woman who has lost so much and a homeless boy changes everything in their lives forever, as each gives the other hope in unexpected ways. It’s a book about facing loss and finding hope when you least expect it. We never know when things will turn around, no matter how dark they seem. It’s about fighting for a better life, and facing the ghosts and demons of the past. It was a powerful, meaningful book to write, and I hope it means as much to you as it does to me.

So maybe our message this January, on a brand new New Year’s day, is to face the new year with hope and courage, and to expect good things out of 2016. I wish you a fantastic new year, and that all your dreams come true – even the dreams you didn’t know you had. Happy New Year!!

Love,
Danielle

daniellesteel.net : Welcome to my website – daniellesteel.net

A Secret Mission On the Streets, Newsweek, June 23, 2008

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Mother Teresa’s Dark Night of The Soul? CSMonitor

 

“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.”

– Mother Teresa

 

I cannot think of a crueler and more destructive expression of homophobia in our time than having hundreds of thousands of teens be rejected by their families, deprived of love, and driven to utter destitution. No teenager who comes out of the closet should be thrown into the streets. And together, if we stand up and lift up our voices for them, we will make sure they can find a home.

 

Executive Director, Ali Forney Center

 

I was surprised to learn years ago that Mother Teresa expressed doubt in some private papers which were made public.

After all, “Doubting Thomas” doubted that Jesus had risen from the dead and even Christ Jesus cried out: “God, why have you forsaken me”.

So it is ok to wrestle with this.

Being beset by doubt at times doesn’t necessary lesson a persons faith nor their commitment to serving God.  Perhaps the road less traveled can be a lonely one.

I have  more respect for somebody honestly wrestling with their faith at times than just following by blind belief.

And I don’t care what your struggle is because most of the Bible characters had them.  They weren’t the “perfect, pretending holy rollers” as Tyler Perry so eloquently stated.  They all had their so-called struggles as they worked out their own salvation.

Since God is unconditional Love then there should be no problem which makes you feel unworthy in turning to prayer for help.

There are even days when my prayer is simply God help me with my unbelief.

And You don’t have to be catholic or over religious to appreciate this video.  Just listen with your heart.

The excerpt following the video is from The Christian Science Monitor on the doubting Mother Teresa and gives a clue as to what “carries people past doubt, past hesitancy, to the fulfillment of their missions—on a small or grand scale.”

Truth, Wisdom, Love and Sincerity, to ALL Mankind.

Rob Scott

Oaxaca, Mexico

“From all walks of life, and at all levels, people struggle with doubt—religious and otherwise—on a daily basis: youngsters facing their first day of kindergarten; alcoholics struggling to recover; presidents with world-shaping decisions to make.

Abraham Lincoln was filled with self-doubt, and yet overcame it to lead the [United States] through the Civil War. Martin Luther King Jr. often talked about his doubts—about his ability or willingness to commit to and sustain the civil-rights movement, and his fear of assassination.

It’s tempting to think of great moral leaders as unshakable warriors, but that is so rarely true. And it’s tempting to think that their courage and good deeds are not possible for the general population to achieve.

But the case of Mother Teresa should make her works feel more accessible to people. If “the saint of the gutters” was tormented by personal failings, then those who feel less saintly can also commit to acts of charity.

Mother Teresa may have believed she had no faith, but was not her persistence an act of extreme faith? And is it not faith in something greater than themselves that sustained leaders, such as Mr. Lincoln and Mr. King, as they carried out their missions?

Persistence for persistence’s sake is not a strong motivator. It is belief in a greater cause, in goodness itself, that carries people past doubt, past hesitancy, to the fulfillment of their missions—on a small or grand scale.”

Click on the link below to read article in its entirety.

 

The Letters - A Movie Inspired by Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Her Powerful Life Story #TheLettersMovie #ad #sponsored

What’s Love Got to Do with it? – Rob Scott, Tony Lobl, CS and Mother Teresa

 

I spent time working on behalf of the Human Rights Campaign at the end of 2015 to help pass the Equality Act which would prohibit discrimination in housing, education and employment against LGBT people in 31 states which have no protection. The Equality Act is currently before Congress.

One college student stated he signed up as a member of HRC because he has two moms. He shared that he is a well loved man because of it.I was touched by one heart breaking story in particular. One woman shared that she had a friend whose son was gay. The family ostracized that child for being gay so he left home with no further contact with them and perhaps felt pressured to leave his faith behind too. He died at age 26 from AIDS.But this same women also told me she herself had a gay son but she loved him unconditionally and their family welcomed him and stated God loves him unconditionally regardless of who he loves. As a result, he is now happy, healthy and well adjusted which demonstrates that love is the cure as stated by Sir Elton John.Why is this story important to our youth? See the following listed below from the former deputy director of the White House Office of National AIDS policy under President Clinton and executive director of the Trust for America’s Health.

Also, Check out a spiritual solution written by Tony Lobl, CS. from a Christian Science Perspective.

Mother Teresa states that the greatest suffering is to feel alone, unwanted and unloved. See the video below.

Thus this blog is dedicated to all those who didn’t make it or had to suffer in silence.

Truth, Wisdom, Love and Sincerity, to ALL Mankind,
Rob Scott
Oaxaca, Mexico

PREVENTION:  Starts In Families: LGBTQ youth whose families are more supportive have significantly lower rates of depression, substance abuse and suicidal ideation and attempts. It is important for federal, state, local, community and faith-based programs to support families of LBGTQ youth, such as through parenting skills-building, case management services, professional best practices in the justice and healthcare systems, and promotion of positive role models.
 
If we do a better job of providing a supportive and respectful environment early in life, we could help reduce the risk of HIV/AIDS and assure a higher quality of life for the next generation of LGBTQ Americans.
 
Jeff Levi
Former deputy director of the White House Office of National AIDS policy under President Clinton and is the executive director of the Trust for America’s Health.
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“Too often in the history of religion, people have killed in the name of the God of life, waged war in the name of the God of peace, hated in the name of the God of love and practiced cruelty in the name of the God of compassion. When this happens, God speaks, sometimes in a still, small voice almost inaudible beneath the clamor of those claiming to speak on his behalf. What he says at such times is: Not in my name.

A Universal Answer to Religious Violence – CSMonitor – 08/02/2015 

 

The Reciprocity Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to helping the city’s homeless youth realize their full potential by developing their passions and reconnecting with their spiritual side. Many of the youth they work with are people of color or part of the LGBT community, and many come from religious backgrounds.

“Many (of these youth) feel negatively towards religion since it has contributed to their isolation from their family and/or homelessness,” said Taz Tagore, a Reciprocity co-founder.

“Most LGBT adults have left their childhood religion because of rejection they’ve experienced,” Ryan said. “So many have a lack of rootedness and connectedness. (Reciprocity’s) approach is helping to restore a sense of spiritual practice.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/09/reciprocity-foundation-lgbt-retreats_n_6294206.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay%20Voices

Is There a Healthier, Healing Way to See Ourselves?

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost’s signature lineup of contributors
Posted: 20/03/2014 11:05

Tony is a Christian Science practitioner and a writer on spirituality and health.

Tony Lobl

 

Stigmas of all sorts have bedevilled humanity for millennia and helped write history. So could they possibly be conquered by something as simple as love?

Well, yes – they sometimes have been. Think of Martin Luther King Jr leading the civil rights movement in the USA or Nelson Mandela spearheading the anti-apartheid transition in South Africa.

And the the same can happen with AIDS, says Sir Elton John.

We need to “be more compassionate to one another, more Christian towards one another, not so hateful to one another,” he once told the BBC during an interview about his book Love is the Cure.

If people showed more understanding and less fear AIDS could be obliterated forever, the rock star philanthropist insisted.

Similar aims were at the heart of the recent US “National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS” with its theme: “Can love conquer stigma?” Its goals included modelling “unconditional love and compassion to all persons living with and affected by HIV”.

Yet there’s more to compassion than just receiving it. For those who are affected, nurturing their own compassion could be key to their wellbeing, according to recent research. It found “holding a compassionate view of others” is one of four spiritual/religious attitudes “significantly related to long survival with AIDS”.

The other three? A sense of peace, faith in God and the right kind of “religious behaviour” – a reference to the fact that the study noted a negative impact from being condemning and judgmental of oneself and others. Yet a much more positive correlation was also discovered: that between frequency of prayer and longevity.

Such scientific confirmation of the role of spiritual resources in coping with AIDS will encourage their adoption by some who might otherwise be unaware of them. Others, though, already recognise the proven value of compassion and prayer in their own lives.

That was the case for a man who tragically lost his wife to AIDS only to be told by doctors he and his daughter had also contracted the disease and would die of it. On top of that he faced the religious stigma of neighbours convinced that AIDS was sent by God to punish sin.

But one question resounded in his thought: “How can God, Love, punish His innocent child?”

Through intense prayer, and the spiritual growth that resulted from it, he became convinced the divine would never do that. Instead, he concluded, God’s thoughts tell us “how to live with courage and be totally free from fear of all kinds”.

When he and his daughter returned for another check-up neither had the HIV virus any longer.

‘The doctor himself was very surprised, and the test was done three times,” the man recalled.

The grateful father attributed the return of health to a spiritual understanding of identity – one poetically captured in a Mindy Jostyn song called “In His Eyes”, written specially for clients at a New York AIDS treatment center.

In His eyes you’re a radiant vision of beauty
A gemstone cut one of a kind
You’re fine as a diamond, deep as a ruby
Rare as a jade in His mind
No need to believe all you may have been told
No need to live in disguise
You’re brighter than silver, purer than gold
A pearl beyond price in His eyes

Accepting this glimpse of who and what we are in the eyes of God can certainly shield us from the barbs of stigmatisation.

Yet could it also do more? Is there an even deeper stigma that can be unearthed and uprooted?

Yes, one that is faced in every instance of disease – namely the silently recurring thoughts that would drum into us that we are basically material rather than spiritual.

To many – like myself – mentally challenging this stigma is at the heart of prayer, because if we successfully silence the voice of this self-stigmatisation we’re left with nothing but the awareness of being a son or daughter of the divine, as Jesus showed us all to be.

Then, like the freedom fighters who evidenced the practicality of love, we can prove for ourselves whether the spiritual growth that let’s us understand that we’re always approved and commended “in His eyes” can heal what’s in our hearts and restore us to health.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/tony-lobl/is-there-a-healthier-healing-way-to-see-ourselves_b_4996974.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

Follow Tony Lobl on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@tonylobl

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