Anything is Possible!

With Faith, Hope and Perseverance

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Awesome Stories 288

Sharing some interesting “Awesome Stories” collected by Brad at Writing to Freedom. The question about whether we’re born good, bad, or as blank slates has been coming up for me a lot over the past couple of years as some (not all) of my Christian friends believe we are born with “a sinful nature.” That just doesn’t feel right to me. I adopted the blank slate belief in college, but it’s certainly possible that we’re born with preferences those who will treat us well and protect us.

writing to freedom

This week Awesome Stories brings you baby morality, junk food, magical living and Little Pantries.

Born Good?

This is a fun video commercial created by the Canadian group called People for Good to show how silly it is to label babies as good or bad. Further, they believe, as I do, that we are born good. Watch this fun reminder that we’re all born good and it’s never too late to be good!

The second video takes a more serious look at the same question by studying the behavior of babies. Dr. Karen Wynn is in charge of the Baby Lab at the Yale University Infant Cognition Center. Their studies seem to demonstrate a universal moral core and innate sense of justice in all babies, even from a very young age. What do you think? Are we born good or are some people born bad?

Real Junk Food

There are…

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“You’ll be my arms, I’ll be your eyes.”

Two “handicapped”men in their 50s help heal the earth with inspiring determination. I hope you enjoy this heartwarming video about friendship and perseverance.

It took me a minute to get used to reading the subtitles, but I’m so glad I watched this!

    “If we work together physically and unite spiritually, we can achieve anything.”


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Coming Together

After last week’s post about good news deserving equal time, I’ve been searching for good news stories. I found plenty of videos about people saving other people from subway tracks in the nick of time. I guess that’s because they always have those cameras at the subway stops.

I also discovered a brief article about this photo of people surrounding a baby in a stroller in Dallas:

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I looked for the CNN article, but it didn’t turn up in my search.

 

The best story I’ve found, so far, is about two groups with different agendas managing to come together. As reported in The Dallas Morning News, after hours of marching, the  Black Lives Matter protestors had become smaller in number and “stationed themselves across the street from counter-protesters waving American, Texas flags and a black-and-blue version in honor of police.”

I wouldn’t exactly call them “counter-protesters,” but the potential for tension and conflict was there.

You can read how this situation unfolded here: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/headlines/20160710-lives-matter-we-are-all-americans-dallas-protesters-counterprotesters-come-together-with-police.ece

This moving video from the story holds the keys to hope. Be sure to watch it all the way through:

The two groups came together at the perfect time in their journeys. The Black Lives Matter protesters had been walking for hours by the time they came to a small group of people standing up for police lives. The people who remained in this time and space were dedicated. They were ready. They realized that they did not have to be on opposite sides of the street.

It’s not a story that is likely to be given a lot of attention, but it’s a story that matters.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.    __ Margaret Mead


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A Forest of Dreams

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In the face of so much sadness and violence in the world, one community came together and created something beautiful.

When they didn’t get the grant they applied for, Professor Janna Robertson and Matt Carvin, the director of Dreams, an arts program for at-risk youth, put their heads together. The goal was to paint a mural on a 240 foot wall to beautify the neighborhood known as Northside where Dreams is located. They decided to ask community groups to sponsor creatures to inhabit the Forest of Dreams. Over 1000 volunteers worked on the mural, and I was honored to be one of them. We worked in the rain and the heat, with lots of ants and other crawly things, and I loved every minute of it. Not only was I doing something I loved, but the  consistently positive attitudes of the people around me gave me hope. I’ve never before seen with my own eyes such a diverse group of people working together to create something so beautiful.

My assignment was to paint a heron reading a book using a rough sketch as a guide. The heron was sponsored in honor of  Dr. Bertha Todd, a veteran educator and civic leader who served as an important mediator during the racial tensions of the early 1970s. The book represents Dr. Todd’s memoir, My Restless Journey, which I’m looking forward to reading. (If you’re interested in purchasing the book, contact me via my contact page.)

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The heron took a few weeks to finish. Then, I added the two bunnies below to another section of the mural, as well as the white rabbit in the bottom left corner of the top photo.

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Among the forest creatures, you’ll see scrolls which tell this sweet story:

 There once was a deer, small and gray,
Lost and lonely, only a stray,
The deer was alone but did not know why
So he lifted his gaze to view the sky.

He yearned for the welcoming stars,
And wished on each one from afar,
Until, suddenly, one star grew,
Revealing a world he never knew.

 In this new light, he saw colors bright
A forest filled with fantastic delights
And amazing creatures unlike any type
He had seen on his side of the night.

He played and talked with them,
Gave to them and got from them
Sage words, gifts, and most above
Acts of kindness and boundless love.

Voices in the wind from souls long gone
Sung to him, the words of a song:
Grow, reach your antlers to the sky
You weren’t born with wings, but you can fly.

So he leapt into the starry night
And became a constellation bright
A Prince for all to see
A guide for those who dare believe

A wall is not always a wall
Sometimes it is not one at all
When you paint the world with dreams
Barriers are not what they seem.

A dream is not just a dream
But a place to start, a place to leap.

By: Jamie La Londe-Pinkston

 

Here are some of the creatures who live in the Forest of Dreams:

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Kids Makin’ It is a program where kids make things from wood. I thought it was very cool that the owl’s wings look like wood.

 

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Memory Tree

The Memory Tree honoring those who have passed on.

 

Deer

The deer

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The deer close up

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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”                    Margaret Mead

 

For more information, visit the Forest of Dreams Mural Website


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The Soldier

 

A Poem by Robert Frost

He is that fallen lance that lies as hurled,
That lies unlifted now, come dew, come rust,
But still lies pointed as it ploughed the dust.
If we who sight along it round the world,
See nothing worthy to have been its mark,
It is because like men we look too near,
Forgetting that as fitted to the sphere,
Our missiles always make too short an arc.
They fall, they rip the grass, they intersect
The curve of earth, and striking, break their own;
They make us cringe for metal-point on stone.
But this we know, the obstacle that checked
And tripped the body, shot the spirit on
Further than target ever showed or shone.
arlington-national-cemetery-354849_960_720.jpg pixabay
I memorized and wrote an analysis of this poem in high school. I can still remember writing that the words need not apply only to wars of belligerence, and that the soldier could have been fighting social injustice or in defense of a worthy cause. In spite of my pacifist leanings, I am thankful for all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice of life in defense of freedom and justice. I hope they and their families know our deep gratitude. May their spirits rest in peace.
(The photo was taken at Arlington National Cemetery and is from Pixabay.)


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I went to a strip club

I personally known a woman- a dancer, a loving mother, a recovering addict, a student, a human being – who was helped by a ministry like this. This gentle, humble ministry is what Jesus was all about.

just a jesus follower

strip clubA while back I was asked by a group of pastor’s wives to go with them to strip clubs.

That sentence alone sounds strange. But hang with me.

At first I was a little hesitant. And not for reasons you might think.

I love people. Especially ones who are broken; it’s part of my calling. But, given what I’ve walked through, I know how fragile broken people can be.

And I know how insensitive the church can be.

And I was uneasy.

But, these weren’t just any pastors wives.

They had a vision.

One that longed to love on women that society had thrown aside.

It reminded me a lot of Jesus.

So, I jumped on it.

Their plan was to visit these clubs once a month to deliver a meal and gift baskets. I joined them the first night and I’ll be honest, I had NO IDEA what to expect.

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