Former President Obama Completes 2017 With Blessings and Grace

Ten-year-old Jahkil Jackson is on a mission to help homeless people in Chicago. He created kits full of socks, toiletries, and food for those in need. Just this week, Jahkil reached his goal to give away 5,000 “blessing bags.” That’s a story from 2017. 


Yes We Can.  Yes We Did.

Published on Jan 15, 2017

(11 Jan 2017) President Barack Obama closed out his farewell speech speaking directly to Americans Tuesday night. Obama thanked his supporters “who lived and breathed the hard work of change.” He was optimistic that the youngest generation will continue his mission. You are “unselfish, altrusitic, creative patriotic — I’ve seen you in every corner of the country,” he said. Obama said he will continue his efforts even after the presidency saying “I won’t stop.”

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Barack Obama Just Tweeted Good News Stories from 2017 to Cheer Us All Up

Tierney McAfee

December 29, 2017 12:52 PM


Barack Obama is here to remind you that for all its faults, 2017 wasn’t all bad.The former president took to Twitter on Friday to share some positive news stories from the year that may have been overlooked amid all the negative coverage of his successor’s presidency.“As we count down to the new year, we get to reflect and prepare for what’s ahead. For all the bad news that seemed to dominate our collective consciousness, there are countless stories from this year that remind us what’s best about America,” Obama tweeted.

Among the stories he shared were those of Kat Creech, a wedding planner in Houston who turned a postponed wedding into a volunteer opportunity for Hurricane Harvey victims; and Chris Long, the Philadelphia Eagles star who gave away an entire season’s salary to launch a campaign to promote educational equity and opportunity for underserved youth in the three cities he’s played football in – Philadelphia, Boston, and St. Louis.

“All across America people chose to get involved, get engaged and stand up,” Obama said. “Each of us can make a difference, and all of us ought to try. So go keep changing the world in 2018.”


Hope (Obama)

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 Photo – Boys and Girls Club in DC – December 14, 2017

The Washington Post – Family & Religious Rejection Unmasked


“There are several reasons parents reject their LGBT youth,” said Telaina Eriksen, author of “Unconditional: A Guide to Loving and Supporting Your LGBTQ Child.” “Sometimes it is based on religion; they think that their child is a sinner or that their child needs to be punished so they see ‘the error of their ways.’ They might think if they force their child to leave their home, their child may return repenting, magically somehow no longer LGBT.”



Homeless rates for LGBT teens are alarming, but parents can make a difference

March 29, 2017

Up to 1.6 million young people experience homelessness in the United States every year. Forty percent of them identify as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender), according to a 2012 study conducted by the Williams Institute at UCLA Law. It’s estimated that LGBT youth represent about 7 percent of the population, which puts that 40 percent figure into heartbreaking context.

The study’s other findings are equally bleak: 46 percent of homeless LGBT youths ran away because of family rejection of their sexual orientation or gender identity; 43 percent were forced out by parents, and 32 percent faced physical, emotional or sexual abuse at home.

“There are several reasons parents reject their LGBT youth,” said Telaina Eriksen, author of “Unconditional: A Guide to Loving and Supporting Your LGBTQ Child.” “Sometimes it is based on religion; they think that their child is a sinner or that their child needs to be punished so they see ‘the error of their ways.’ They might think if they force their child to leave their home, their child may return repenting, magically somehow no longer LGBT.”

She said that parents who reject their LGBT child need to do some work on themselves, because the problem is theirs, not their child’s.

“If the parent is inclined to get angry, lash out at their child or kick them out of the house, they should think about how they would feel if their child were to die tomorrow. Because that could really happen if a parent withdraws emotional, physical and financial support from their minor child,” Eriksen said.

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A New Message From Our Holiday Mom

Rob says:

Mama Chris,
God bless you for this healing message. You turned on a small light in a dark room with this message for many of us who have been ostracized by our biological moms for being LGBT.
Happy holidays to all of you who made this website happen.
Truth, Wisdom, Love and Sincerity, to ALL mankind.


  • Momma Chris says:
    A really big hug for you Rob. Keep being the best you ever and no matter what, smile. Because you are stronger than life.


Your Holiday Mom – Offering Our LGBTQ Youth A Virtual Home For The Holidays


Your Holiday Mom: Momma Chris


My Special Child,

I am not the “Momma” I thought I would be. The one I yearned for myself as a child, the one I vowed to be as I got older. I am however proud of the Momma I became. I wanted a dozen children to love and nurture. I learned being a Momma hasn’t as much to do with bringing a child in to the world as itdoes cherishing every child who is brought into your world.

I do have two children who grew within my body. But there are many of you who grew within my heart just as easily. All of my children are at least young adults now. One of my girls became engaged to a lovely young woman this year, and gifted my husband and my hearts with two grandsons. I wish very much to include you in my heart over this season as well.

There is no failure in being the best and truest you that you can be. You are everything positive in this world. You are a light shining clearly for all who are worthy to be brought to. Life isn’t always easy. And being human is sometimes very difficult. Stand true to the goodness within your heart, and stand proudly of who you are. Only you can define who that person looking back from the mirror “is”.

My wishes for you are to have no more than you need, but enough to share as needed. I wish I could deal our UNO cards to you, remind you it’s your roll in Yahtzee. I wish I could take you outside, and force you to dance in the rain (because you will pretend you hate the very idea). I wish you to find yourself walking a trail in nature one day and realize YOU are a part of all you see, and then you move a spider to safety. I wish for you to feel the warmth of a true smile cross your lips, and to see this smile in the eyes of another. I wish you to never think for once you are “too old” to snuggle, and to always be true to yourself. You are a perfect you.

I want you to give me something in return. A promise. To remember the following words I write to you, my cherished one, as this is my life motto.

When you walk through the forest- note every leaf and seed upon the ground just as you see the tree. The seeds and leaves are just as important as the tree from where they came. They have a job to do, and are set out a course. We all have a turn in this. We nourish the tree and critters, and one day we will be just as grounded as the tallest Oak. I want you to continue walking, each stone and pebble- see them for the beauty and knowledge they contain. They are the ones who have been there before us. Choose to walk with someone when you can, but never ever fear walking your path alone. There will always be someone amazing around the bend. And when you reach the creek, wade through the water and splash around a bit. Promise me you won’t always cross by way of bridges.

May you find the forests of your life to contain as much beauty as I know there is within you. And may you see that same beauty within yourself.

I love YOU my child.

Momma Chris

Kelly Clarkson – It Gets Better


“I am a huge supporter of the It Gets Better Project and its goal to uplift young LGBTQ+ people through messages of hope and positivity. As a mother and as someone who wants my kids to grow up in a world where they know their self worth, I’m honored to partner with It Gets Better on the ‘meaning of life’ fan art contest.”

 Kelly Clarkson


Published on Mar 3, 2016 – Kelly Clarkson sings while pregnant



Kelly Clarkson: I used to see ‘kids get their asses kicked for being gay’

Kelly Clarkson has spoken out about what led her to support the LGBT community saying she used to see kids “get their asses kicked” for being gay.

Speaking to GT magazine, Clarkson opened up about her support from the LGBT community and why she has been a longtime supporter of the community.

She said: “I grew up in the South, and when I was a kid, kids would get their asses kicked [for being gay]. It was insane. Like, a couple of my guy friends growing up were gay and I didn’t know because they didn’t even confide in me. When I was asked to write that Gay Pride Month Love Letter, I was like, ‘I think I’m going to say I’ll be thankful for the day when people like me don’t have to be thanked for being an ally.’ Because, don’t you think it’s a weird thing for me to be thanked for? Just for being decent, for being a normal, reasonable human being?

“When I look back at those guys I grew up with, I just think, ‘Wow, how incredibly sad that they couldn’t be themselves, that they had to pretend to have girlfriends.’

“I just look forward to the day when we don’t have to write love letters to any minority groups in society. Where it’s equal everywhere. It’s 2017, we should be evolved and progressive enough to be past this. But we’re not! Because half of my country thinks differently to the way I do!”

  • Photo Below:  Danielle Seaton of Omaha, NE — Winner of the “Meaning of Life” Fan Art Contest. Danielle’s winning design is available now as a limited edition postcard set, available to the first 250 people who donate $50 or more to It Gets Better Project. Every set will include a personal signed note from Kelly Clarkson!


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The Personal and Impersonal Saviour by Mary Baker Eddy – December 23, 1888




The Personal and Impersonal Saviour
Author: Mary Baker Eddy
Date: December 23, 1888

[*]Mourner, she calls thee; “come to my bosom; Love wipes the tears all away, And will lift the shades of gloom, And for thee make blessed room When the darkness hath yielded to-day.”

Sinner, she calls thee, daring or dying; “Oh, take my offering in; And the spirit that makes pure,

[*]But that thy love is seeking me, And that thou bid’st me come to thee, — O loving God I come.

Just as I am, — though tossed about With many a conflict, many a doubt, Fightings within, and fears without, —

[*]Newer rites of grace prevail; Faith for all defects supplying, Where the feeble senses fail.

To the everlasting Father, Through the Son who reigns on high, Be salvation, honor, blessing, Might, and endless majesty.

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CSMonitor – Many LGBT homeless youth sell sex to survive on the streets, report says + United Nations Video

I think Ron Ballard made some good points in his article re-posted yesterday regarding sensuality. It was a spotlight article on JSH online.

But I can’t help but question the direction of  the article as it identifies a youth of only 13 years old who ended up on the street and had to turn to survival sex to eat.  Mr. Ballard’s conclusion is that …  sensuality, any reliance on physical sensation and direction, not only denigrates one’s spiritual, moral, and intellectual interest, but is in and of itself simply not reliable

I think what really denigrated that child of only 13 years old and countless others out there on the street who are LGBT were their homophobic parents.  He is the same youth who appears in another article (see link below) by Ron Ballard. The teen is symptomatic with AIDS upon meeting Ballard. 

Perhaps if you look beyond the surface of things the article should be titled “Homophobia Unmasked”.

How can you hold a child of 13 responsible for being driven to utter destitution?  He was innocent and came into this world with a clean slate.

The CSMonitor article below states: “These are kids in very desperate situations who will do what they need to do to be able to survive,” Meredith Dank, the report’s lead author, told the Associated Press.

Religious rejection can also contribute to our youths isolation from their family and/or homelessness.

I tried to contact Ron Ballard a few years ago to discuss his articles further only to learn that he passed onward and upward.

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.

Carl Siciliano
Executive Director, Ali Forney Center


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Published on May 22, 2017

United Nations – There is an estimated 500,000 homeless youth in the United States. 40 percent of them identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender (LGBT.) This feature tells the story of Kellen, a transgender man enrolled in the Ali Forney Center, the largest community centre for LGBT homeless youth in the country


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Many LGBT homeless youth sell sex to survive on the streets, report says

Many homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender youth are likely to engage in ‘survival sex’ in order to pay for food or shelter, according to a new federally funded study by the Urban Institute.

photo – Will Anderson/AP


Many homeless youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) are likely to engage in “survival sex” in order to stay alive on the streets or in homeless shelters, according to a new study.

The federally funded study by the Urban Institute, which was conducted over three years, included in-depth interviews with 283 young people in New York City, most of them 15 to 21 years old.

“The information they shared paints a vivid picture of how they survive in the face of adversity, often dealing with issues rooted in poverty, homophobia, transphobia, racism, child abuse, and criminalization,” the report states.

For many, selling sex to survive comes at a time of alienation when questions of sexual orientation and gender identity are still being resolved – questions that much of society finds difficult, if not impossible, to relate to.

Among the key findings:
  • Such youth are likely to have experienced family rejection, physical or sexual abuse, and other causes of mental and emotional trauma.
  • Young people might be recruited by an exploiter, but then eventually trade sex independently for money in order to pay such basic needs as food and shelter.
  • They experience frequent arrest for various misdemeanor crimes, creating further instability and perpetuating a reliance on survival sex.
  • Many of those interviewed report disappointing or frustrating experiences with social service systems and providers, which often fail to meet their need for safe housing, reliable income, and adequate mental and physical health care.

Some of the young people interviewed by the Urban Institute “experience violence at the hands of staff and clients at social service organizations and other locations that are intended to be safe.”

Still, researchers found, such youth are “extremely resilient” in the face of external challenges as well as sexual and gender identity issues.

“They find ways to survive, often relying on their informal networks, street savvy, and quick learning abilities to share resources and skills and to adapt to difficult and often dangerous situations,” the report states. For some, that means carrying weapons, including knives and Mace.

“These are kids in very desperate situations who will do what they need to do to be able to survive,” Meredith Dank, the report’s lead author, told the Associated Press.

Given that much of this activity is in the shadows of urban life, hard figures can be elusive.

But a study by Boston Children’s Hospital, published online by the American Journal of Public Health, finds that 1 in 4 gay and lesbian high school students are homeless, compared with 3 percent of heterosexual teens. Another study by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law finds that 40 percent of homeless youths identify as LGBT.

Meanwhile, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), the percentage of young runaways who likely became victims of sex trafficking has been edging up – from one in seven in 2013 to one in six in 2014 – and 68 percent of these likely sex trafficking victims were in the care of social service agencies or foster care when they ran.

The NCMEC cites estimates showing that 30 percent of shelter youth and 70 percent of street youth are victims of commercial sexual exploitation.

In New York City earlier this month, city officials and youth advocates gathered to protest what they said was a two-thirds cut in youth homeless shelters since 2008.

State Sen. Brad Hoylman noted over 5,000 instances in 2012 where teenagers were turned away from shelters due to a lack of beds, a large increase over the 573 that were turned away in 2008, the Gothamist city blog reported.

“It’s unconscionable that thousands of kids struggle each year to find a safe place to sleep,” Senator Hoylman said.

Founded in 1968, the Urban Institute is a social and economic policy research organization in Washington funded by government contracts, foundations and private donors. The new study on LGBT youth engaging in “survival sex” was funded by the US Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

If you or someone you know have been a victim of sex trafficking, you can contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP to BeFree (233733).

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Investigation – Abandoned LGBT Youth v Sensuality Unmasked



After his grandmother kicked him out into the cold, someone offered the 19-year-old a warm bed for the weekend. All the guy wanted in exchange for his hospitality was sex. “At first I didn’t want to,” said the homeless teenager. “But I didn’t want to stay in the streets.”

As another 19-year-old put it, “It’s not as bad as sleeping under the bridge.”

A detailed new study of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth in New York City, released Wednesday by the nonprofit Urban Institute, sheds light on “survival sex,” or trading sex for cash or shelter. The practice is common among teenagers and young adults who, the report finds, have few other “viable means for meeting their basic needs.”

Over the course of three years, the institute interviewed 283 youth who reported engaging in survival sex. The researchers hope the study, entitled “Surviving the Streets of New York,” will provide insight into a little-understood world and demonstrate the need for more government-funded shelter beds and other resources focused on LGBTQ youth.

The problem, he said, is that you can’t rely on survival sex. One night last week, when the temperature dropped well below freezing, Jonathan ended up in the hospital with frostbite. A shelter had turned him away, saying there were no available beds. “I felt like I was in no-man’s land,” Jonathan said.

Dank, the Urban Institute researcher, hopes the study will help the LGBTQ movement realize that it has focused too little funding on youth. “We know what’s driving people into survival sex,” she said, “but if we don’t have the right holistic social safety network there, which requires lots of resources and money and people trained to help these young people, then we’re not going to be able to stem that tide of young people left out in the cold.”




Cover Article

Sensuality UNMASKED

From the March 13, 2006 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

Higher enjoyments alone can satisfy the cravings of immortal man. We cannot circumscribe happiness within the limits of personal sense. The senses confer no real enjoyment.


—Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. pp. 60-61


YEARNINGS, longings, cravings—art tries to depict them, philosophy tries to explain them, religion tries to ennoble them. And much of human existence is obsessed with our trying to fulfill each one. If you look deeply enough, you realize that the forms those desires take often mask deeper issues.

Substance addiction may mask a deeper desire for peace of mind. Gluttony may cover the yearning for an assurance of one’s self-worth. Sexual promiscuity could indicate the longing to feel loved and cared for. Having deep yearnings may be understandable, but what’s at issue is how we try to fulfill them. The assumption that the world can only be understood in physical terms—and thus be comprehended only through the five physical senses—is very strong. And this doctrine of sensuality insists all ideas are derived from, and are essentially reducible to, physical sensation. Furthermore, this doctrine often claims that the highest good lies in sensual gratification.

But sensuality, any reliance on physical sensation and direction, not only denigrates one’s spiritual, moral, and intellectual interest, but is in and of itself simply not reliable. It is at the heart of the conflict referred to in the Bible in Galatians, “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (5:17).

The consequences of relying on sensual gratification for good in one’s life runs right up against the boundaries of physicality, and the good that we hope for is, in the end, almost always denied.

A stark example of this occurred in the life of someone I met a while ago. Forced out of his home at an early age (13), he took to the city streets, making his living, as many street youth do, through prostitution. Unfortunately, the money was all too easy. He developed an addiction first to alcohol and then to a wide array of drugs. His prostitution morphed into sex addiction. Eventually, he developed physical complications, and when we first met, he was suffering from a life-threatening illness.

He was pretty disillusioned with his life. And he’d come to the point of doubting the theory that gratifying the physical senses was as good as it was going to get. He was looking for a new definition of fulfillment and of life itself.

Behind the mask was his wish to be loved, his need to belong. Up to this point in his life, those longings were not being adequately addressed. We began to talk about a different concept of life—a life that came from a spiritual source, from God. We talked about how God so loved His creation that His very nature was expressed in all He created. That expression includes an abiding sense that one can never be far from the conscious feeling of God’s love and care. Often it’s when all trust in the physical aspects of life fails or fades away, that deeper spiritual dimensions of existence become more apparent to us. Spiritual sense is required to recognize these inherent spiritual dimensions. Our spiritual sense comes from understanding God—His/Her nature, purposes, and methods. Developing one’s spiritual senses requires a shift of focus away from the physical as the dominant interpreter of life, to an awareness of the living presence of God in one’s life. The flesh, or physical sense, opposes spiritual sense because they are simply contrary to one another.

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy’s defining book on spiritual healing, explains this conflict in a way that helps move us beyond it: “Selfishness and sensualism are educated in mortal mind by the thoughts ever recurring to one’s self, by conversation about the body, and by the expectation of perpetual pleasure or pain from it; and this education is at the expense of spiritual growth. If we array thought in mortal vestures, it must lose its immortal nature” (p. 260). Our immortal nature is actually the reality of our experience, the divine nature or qualities of God that He is expressing through us. There is never a moment when this spiritual nature is not present in our lives, but it is so important that we not allow the counterproductive thoughts of sensuality to hold sway in our thinking and draw us away from this fact.

My friend readily related to that sentiment. He’d felt for a very long time that he was constantly thinking of himself as a physical body. And worse yet, he felt others were seeing him only through that physicality. In his words, “I felt more like a piece of meat than a person.”

Taking into account so much of today’s commercial advertising, we may find it easy to empathize with his feelings. Much of what is projected into human thought is focused on physicality and the expectation of pleasure from it. Yet time and time again, those expectations go unfulfilled. For example, if our love for another person is based on sensuality, when someone comes along with what is perceived to be a more attractive physicality, love is lost. If drugs, illicit or prescriptive, are trusted to provide some degree of euphoria or release, when they wear off or our system becomes used to them, we’re still faced with the abiding problem of confinement in a physical concept of who we are. If food is used to comfort emotional pain or insecurity, we soon find these mental disturbances return.

People deserve better than that. My friend realized he deserved better than that. He resolved to stop looking at life as a sensual experience and instead to probe the deeper dimensions of life in and of Spirit. First, that meant seeing himself from a spiritual perspective. So he began to value the qualities and attributes he knew God gave to him, rather than the way he looked physically. He noticed qualities such as intelligence, innocence, strength, and courage developing from within—he was discovering his self-worth as God’s child. He expanded that approach to include appreciation of the spiritual qualities he saw in others, and made a real attempt not to judge someone else’s beauty, worth, or character by physical appearance. He started challenging false assumptions that there was satisfaction to be found in the offers from friends of drugs or sexual encounters, or in the seductive advertisements that seemed to assault him on city buses, newspapers, magazines, and television.

Often it’s when all trust in the physical aspects of life fails or fades away, that deeper spiritual dimensions of existence remain and become more apparent to us.

He actually began to enjoy seeing past the shallowness of sensual thinking to spiritual understanding, and found the process enlightening. For the first time, he felt that he was actually thinking for himself and taking charge of his life.

This passage in Science and Health meant a lot to him: “Anatomy, when conceived of spiritually, is mental self-knowledge, and consists in the dissection of thoughts to discover their quality, quantity, and origin. Are thoughts divine or human? That is the important question” (p. 462). He found that learning to take possession of his thinking and examine its validity (whether it was spiritually original or physically promotional) was a major step in learning how to control his life.

It wasn’t long before he felt he was looking at life in a different way, drawing on the deeper, more spiritual dimensions of his existence. He felt that God, divine Life, was showing him more and more about who he truly was, and with that development came the healing of the life-threatening disease. This process was not without its ups and downs, as he constantly faced the temptation to resort to prior dependence and practices. But he had experienced in a very profound way what can happen if one doesn’t challenge sensuality and think about the consequences of indulging in it. He knew firsthand that sensuality was contrary to spiritual development. And perhaps most significant, he was coming to know the disappointments of the one, and the rewards of the other. Today, he says he lives those rewards, feeling dominion in his life and the effects of letting God guide and mold it.

Challenging sensuality (again, the assumption that the highest good comes from gratification of the physical senses) does not mean that one must live an ascetic life, apart from the normal pleasures and activities of everyday experience. What it does imply is that those pleasures be embraced from a higher vantage point. That through sharpening our spiritual senses, we can gain true satisfaction, rather than undermine it. When any activity in life is performed solely because of a physical or sensual enticement—when it’s performed through feeling that the five physical senses demand it—we’ve lost dominion over our experience.

The Bible assures us that “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (II Cor. 3:17). Spiritual understanding always requires that no matter what we do, we recognize God’s control in our lives. From expressing love and affection to another person, to enjoying a day outside in the sun, we can recognize the presence of God right there—and grasp the profound implications of this way of life. These include feeling more freedom, expanding our thought and adventure, and leaving behind the false promises and unfulfilled claims of sensuality.

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A Gift of Hope: Helping the Homeless


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