Sunday, December 27, 2009

Concert turned mom into a poverty fighter

By Jennifer Grant
Special to the Chicago Tribune
December 25, 2009

Activist and author Shayne Moore credits a rock star with waking her up to the AIDS pandemic. A married, stay-at-home mother of three, Moore said her life in Wheaton was organized around raising her children -- filling sippy cups, changing diapers, and stocking the fridge with groceries -- until Bono came to town.

On World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, 2002, U2 frontman Bono began his weeklong Heart of America Tour. The Irish rock star -- along with a motley crew of fellow travelers including celebrities Lance Armstrong and Ashley Judd, medical experts, and a children's singing group from Ghana -- visited seven Midwestern states and spoke at churches and on college campuses to raise awareness about AIDS.

During their stop at Wheaton College, Moore's alma mater, Moore said Bono's message "knocked the suburban wind right out of me."

"Living in an affluent suburb of Chicago, these issues weren't right in front of me," Moore said. "I was spending my time with other moms like me, going to play groups, going to Old Navy, going to Target. My world was really small."

Moore had been a fan of U2 since high school and when she heard Bono was coming, she was determined to see him.

"To be honest, I didn't care what Bono had to say. I didn't know what it was all about, but I scalped tickets from these little innocent freshmen at Wheaton so I could get in," Moore said. She paid $80 for tickets to attend the program; Wheaton students had received them for free.

That December day, as Moore entered Wheaton College's Edman Chapel with her 1-year-old son on her hip and holding the hand of her 4-year-old daughter, she was unaware that her life was about to change course dramatically. But a few hours later, shaken by what she'd learned about the tragic relationship between AIDS and poverty, Moore was incited to action.

In the seven years since Bono's visit to Wheaton, Moore has become a full-fledged activist. She has attended G8 summits in Edinburgh and St. Petersburg and has made public service announcements urging world leaders to keep their promises to the world's poorest people. She has traveled to Honduras, Zambia, and other resource-poor countries to observe and support the work of humanitarian organizations such as World Vision. Her first book, "All Our Ones Add Up: A Soccer Mom's Journey for Global Change," will be published by Zondervan in August.

"Shayne struck me as representing the prefect target audience for what the Heart of America Tour was trying to accomplish: to take caring, energetic Americans and to educate them on the issue and then to mobilize them to do their part in addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic," said Ashley Woodiwiss, who was on Wheaton College's faculty when Bono visited and now teaches at Erskine College in South Carolina. "She struck me as well-placed to turn her desire to make a difference into a flourishing and full-time effort."

Moore started by attending meetings of a fledgling group called DuPage Glocal AIDS Action Network(, which was formed just days after Bono's visit by Woodiwiss; Sister Sheila Kinsey, a Franciscan nun; and Sandra Joireman, of the Wheaton College department of politics and international relations.

"Glocal" is a combination of "global" and "local," describing the group's goal of thinking globally and acting locally. Soon, Moore was an active member of the group, which meets regularly.

Because of her involvement in the group, Moore became one of the original members of the ONE Campaign, a nonpartisan effort created by a number of humanitarian organizations -- including Bread for the World, Oxfam, and World Vision -- to mobilize ordinary citizens to fight extreme poverty and preventable disease.

In November, Moore traveled to Zambia to see some of the work that organizations including World Vision are doing to prevent HIV transmission and gender-based violence in the southern African country.

"I connect deeply with the faith-based element of World Vision. My Christian faith motivates me to fight AIDS and poverty. With World Vision, I get my hands wet, my mind active, and my heart engaged," Moore said.

And she is grateful for the opportunity to get involved.

"I was very disturbed after I saw Bono," she said. "It's cliche to say it, but I woke up. I'd been living in this very insular world and it took a rock star coming to my hometown to wake me up to this huge thing happening in the world.",0,1663944.story

Copyright © 2009, Chicago Tribune

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Menorah

“I am looking forward to getting out my Christmas decorations,” I announce to my friend Kathy thinking about all the bins in my basement. “I especially love the menorah my mother gave me.”

“You have a menorah?” Kathy looks puzzled.

“Yes, when I was growing up my family celebrated Hanukkah each year. When I got married my mother gave me one.”

“Why?” she presses me on it more. Kathy knows I am a person of faith in Jesus and I come from a Christian family.

I have never been asked why my family of origin celebrated Hanukkah, or why this tradition was passed down to my family. It was just something we always did. My mother even wrote a devotional book to go along with the lighting of the menorah. Each day of our Hanukkah celebration this devotional includes both Old Testament and New Testament responsive Scriptural readings, a hymn, a prayer and a memory verse.

Tomorrow at sundown marks the beginning of Hanukkah. As we approach I find myself reflecting on this interaction with my friend and the why of celebrating Hanukkah—at least for my little Christian family here in the Midwest.

Beyond my faith in Jesus, I appreciate the richness and significance of Old Testament Jewish culture and how the Israelites interacted with God and worshipped Him. Hanukkah is the same thing as The Festival of Lights and the book of John (10:22) records Jesus attending this festival in Jerusalem. Even then it was an eight day festival and it commemorated the recapture and rededication of the Temple following the victories of Judas Maccabeus in 165 B.C. According to the Book of Maccabae, once the Temple had been reclaimed a lamp was lit. This lamp according to Jewish law had to be kept lit and never extinguished. The only problem was there was only enough oil to keep the lamp lit for one day. This is where the miracle of Hanukkah comes in--the oil in the lamp lasted eight days, just enough time until more oil arrived.

In the time of Christ the Festival of Lights was a time of celebrating and yearning for freedom, both political and religious, and it was very controversial as the Jewish people were living under Roman rule. Rome was not thrilled to have a city full of riled up activists for Jewish liberation. Then Jesus goes and makes it even more controversial when he claims he has come to bring much more than political and religious freedom.

It was during the celebration of Hanukkah when Jesus says these memorable words, “The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.”

In my family our Hanukkah readings start with a poem. This poem sums up the overarching Biblical story of Christ. I have considered this absconding of a tradition might be offensive or confusing to my Jewish friends. However, to me it speaks to why I celebrate Hanukkah with my children, to the things we have in common, and to a continuity in a shared faith that God sometimes breaks into our world and does miracles.

Eight Little Candles by Jessie E. Sampter

I thought of Christ, the Promised One
And all that He has done,
I lit one little candle
To extol God’s only Son.

I thought about a man and wife,
And two who share one life,
I lit candles for Jesus and
The Church, the Bride of Christ.

I thought about the Trinity:
The Father, Spirit, Son,
I lit another candle
To praise the Three in One.

I thought about four marks of grace
Of faith, hope, peace and love,
I lit the candles and I prayed
O, fill me from above.

I thought how David used five stones
To face a foe alone,
And as I lit the candles
His obedience I owned.

I thought how God created
Six days of work and play,
I lit another candle
For the Sabbath to rest and play.

I thought how seven Churches
Prepare for Jesus’ reign,
The candles burn to promise
That Christ will come again.

I thought of how we celebrate
The Festival of Lights,
And lit the final candle
For Christ—the Light of Lights.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Room of Their Own

We pile out of our van in urban Lusaka, Zambia. The women of Chikumbuso greet us with everything they have. Their smiles, their song and their joy. Chikumbuso is a home, a community center, a school, and a safe house for women and their families who are infected and affected by poverty and HIV and AIDS.

It was once a bar and brothel where women were abused and used. "Mama Linda" bought it and redeemed it and created Chikumbuso. Today it provides clean bedrooms for families, a storage unit free of rats for books, classrooms, and a nursery where new moms can find safety, a crib and a locked door.

Most of the women at Chikumbuso are AIDS widows and have the disease themselves. Most of the women would be homeless and destitute without Chikumbuso. An HIV positive women, or a woman with full blown AIDS and her children are not wanted in society. Most of these women come from, or still remain, in abusive situations within their homes.

Chikumbuso is a haven. Behind the smiles and song I see the weary eyes and the suffering souls. Behind busy hands that knit handmade purses from strips of plastic garbage bags to sell for a bit of an income, I see tender hearts broken by the situations in their lives. Yet, there is something more here. Something sacred.

When you watch the video of these beautiful women singing about their community, can you see it? In my short visit, it became clear when women gather at Chikumbuso there is spirit of safety and solidarity. They have a room of their own.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Who Am I To Make A Difference?

“I don’t think I ever want to travel to Africa,” my friend says while blowing into the foam on her cappuccino.

“Why not?” I ask, adding, “It is a big time commitment and airfare isn’t cheap, that’s for sure. “ Jackie and I are sitting in our local Starbucks taking a little friend time out of our busy full-time mother schedule.

“No, that’s not it. I just don’t think I could handle seeing all the suffering. When my husband goes on mission trips he always comes home so sad, disturbed even. It really affects him.”

“When you travel like that there are difficult things to come to terms with but you also get to see the people and the land and appreciate cultures different from your own.” I try to meet her in the middle.

“Still. I just don’t want to see it--the suffering. It’s like that movie, Slumdog Millionaire, I just can’t watch that kind of stuff. I have no desire to see it.”

On my journey into waking up to the global realities of extreme poverty,the pandemics of HIV/AIDS and malaria, and the mistreatment of women and girls worldwide, these kinds of conversations cause me to pause.

Why are we so hesitant to look into the pain and suffering of others? Is it because these situations are hopeless? Do we feel they are too far away and there is nothing we can do? I mean, we’re just ordinary Middle American women. Who are we to make a difference? Are we afraid we will be too disturbed? That seeing and experiencing and entering in to another’s real life of staggering poverty, abuse and disease will throw off our emotional and spiritual comfort?

I have come to believe we are supposed to be disturbed.

And I have come to believe that being disturbed by the global situation of poverty and disease is not the same as having no hope. In fact, so much has changed on the international scene when it comes to the fight against these things. There is much hope!

In 2000, leaders from 189 countries signed on to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s), a set of eight ambitious targets designed to significantly reduce global poverty and disease by 2015. Today it is not just churches, mission organizations and thoughtful individuals in the fight against poverty, disease and universal education (especially for girls). Today governments all across the world understand something needs to be done. Here are the Millennium Development Goals:

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger with the target of halving by 2015 the proportion of people whose income is less than a dollar a day and to halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.

2. Achieve universal primary education with the target of ensuring by 2015 children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.

3. Promote gender equality and empower women with the target to eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, and all levels of education by 2015.

4. Reduce child mortality with the target of reducing by two thirds the under-five mortality rate by 2015.

5. Improve maternal health with the goal of reducing by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio and achieving universal access to reproductive health by 2015.

6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases with the target of having halted the spread of HIV/AIDS and incidences of malaria and other diseases and begun t reverse the spread by 2015.

7. Ensure environmental sustainability with the target to integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and to reverse the loss of environmental resources and to halve the proportion of populations without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015. Also, by 2020 to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers.

8. Develop a global partnership for development with the target of addressing the special needs of the least developed countries, landlocked and island countries and in cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries.

With the world getting smaller, thanks to the Internet and 24 hour news on our TV’s, phones and computers, our generation is the first generation in the history of the world to be so educated and informed about global situations. We are also the first generation to have the capacity to be connected to people so far away from us geographically.

Today we can join with world leaders and make our voices count. We can express that we are disturbed and we think things need to change. As a friend of mine says, “As women, we need to get thick skin yet keep our hearts' tender, and be a voice for the voiceless.”

A great place to start: Join ONE. You’ll get news alerts, blogs, action points, and recommended articles to read. Together we can make a difference.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Generation In Agreement; U2 Chicago

I was at Cubs game a couple of weeks ago with my husband and three kids. It was a beautiful sunny Chicago day and it was made even lovelier by the fact that the Cubs were soundly trouncing the Mets. I grew up going to Cubs games back when only a sprinkling of seats at Wrigley might be full. It was great fun to share a vibrant and exciting team with my kids. It was a sold out game with over 40,000 people in attendance.

At the end of the game when all of us were singing, “Go Cubs Go, Go Cubs Go. Hey Chicago, what'd you say? The Cubs are gonna win today,” I looked around the stadium almost tearing up and thought, “You know, people can do it. We can come together in agreement, in peace, and in goodwill.” And even if this moment of solidarity was simply for a team it felt like no small thing.

Last night I was at a sold out Soldier Field for another favorite team, U2. It was the opening night of their U.S. concert tour. My husband and I brought our kids. We got our hotdogs and pop and settled in our seats and when we finally took in our surroundings we found we were sitting in a stadium full of families. In front of us a couple with their two sons. Behind us a family like us from the suburbs. This mom and I started comparing notes as to how many times we had seen U2, where and when. (She won. She’d seen them in ’84 in a tiny venue.)

Both our kids and our new found friends' kids rolled their eyes at our conversation and I felt my age in a new way. I did not feel crickety or like a has been. Instead, it felt like something significant was happening. It wasn’t just my husband and I who wanted to share U2’s music and message with our children. As I scanned Soldier Field I saw family after family doing the same.

Unlike the Rolling Stones or other enduring bands U2’s message is, well, different. Bono is the “every man” just trying to maneuver life warts and all, and underneath the truth of how hard life can be is the powerful message of solidarity and oneness with each other within our mutual broken humanity.

It is hard to miss these messages when a packed Soldier Field is singing them in unison.

“Every generation has a chance to change the world.”
“One life, we’ve got to do what we should.”
“We’ve got to carry each other, carry each other.”
“Stand by me. Stand by me.”

This morning I read some of the reviews of the concert--like from a guy over at The Chicago Sun-Times. It is as if he and I were at different shows. I admit I am not a sophisticated critic. I am a mom and a wife and I live in the suburbs. But I am also a member of this generation who resonates deeply with U2’s message and a desire for unity in a world being torn apart. I read the review and felt bad for this cynical reporter. What a drag he couldn't enter in the joy and unity of the show. Everyone else there certainly could. There was a powerful energy in the stadium last night.

I am not a cynic and what I witnessed was a generation in agreement that cynicism and divisiveness is not what we want to be about and not what we want to pass to our children. This is why we come back and continue to fill stadiums for 25 years. Sure, the stage might be cool, but it is so much more.

All those families in the seats--the moms and dads, the sons and daughters--we were there for the music, for the shared solidarity of ideals, and to see some good old friends and familiar faces who have a message that stirs our souls. Not to mention, it is just good rock and roll fun!

Bono and U2 have made real contributions to our global generation in the fight against poverty and disease and injustice. Who can argue with that? Who would want to? Bono and friends started ONE,, a powerful expression of these ideals. If U2 has shown us anything it is that these messages are not simply happy sentiments that make a good song. They are universal truths that make a good world.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Who Would Want to be an Ego, When We Can Be a Soul? Reflections on Elizabeth Lesser

I ought to be reworking the first chapters of a book I’m writing. I ought to be cleaning the upstairs bathroom. I ought to be getting dinner ready for my three children. Instead, I am blogging about death.

Standing in line at the local coffee house this morning I perused the titles of books on display: In Defense of Food; An Eater’s Manifesto, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle; A Year of Food, The Kid’s Yoga Deck. My eyes fell on Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser. A friend had just mentioned this book to me so I took it off the shelf, opened it about two thirds in, and began reading at a chapter entitled “A Meditation for Practicing Dying.”

It began with a quote from Ram Dass, “When we practice dying, we are learning to identify less with Ego and more with Soul.” I skimmed the short chapter feeling I must have been guided to this moment. The contents were connecting with me deeply.

This is a concept with which I am familiar. The book of Romans has a lot to say about death. In the middle of the book the author, Paul, explains that the way the cosmos is set up, the way we come to know our Creator intimately, is by faith in Jesus. And faith in his story-- which is he died. Paul teaches when we come to faith in the story of Jesus, we die with him. Our sins die with him. But the story doesn’t end there—Jesus comes back to life. Starting in chapter six of Romans, in one of the most complete manifestos on the spiritual condition of man, the Bible explores this concept of dying to self and being alive in Christ. Paul says, “The mind of a sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace….You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.”

I have been a person of faith my whole life, and my life-experience testifies to the truth of this story. When I am holding on to my “self”--when I am letting my ego call the shots and limit my viewpoint, it is death to my spirit. It steals my joy and wastes my time. But when I allow myself to live into the reality the spirit of Christ lives in me, I am able to die to self and the limiting, soul-crushing habits which are attached.

This morning, Elizabeth Lesser layered wonderful, complimentary words on my theology. She writes,

“I have trained myself now—when something is not going my way, and I feel rising up within me a big, hard No!—to take a breath or two, and to counter it with different counsel. I tell myself to “die to it.”…. What must die? Any resistance to the bigger truth. Any holding on by that part of me—my little ego—that cannot see beyond its own nose. If the situation involves another person—even if that person is being led around by the nose of his or her own little ego—it is still only necessary for me to “die to it.”…Practicing dying means living as close to reality as we can in each moment. It is the ultimate bravery. The spiritual warrior stands undefended before the truth—not some concept about the truth but the stripped-down reality of the most mundane, day-to-day situations.”

I want to be a spiritual warrior. I want to practice dying. I am not going to get it down perfect, this dying to self all the time, but maybe if I keep practicing I will get better? Because as Elizabeth so aptly points out, “Who would want to be an ego, when we can be a soul?”

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Open Heart, Open Hands and the Holy

Yesterday I saw Linda. She was standing and smiling and holding my hands.

Two weeks ago my spiritual director had emergency open heart surgery. A large tumor was found in her chest threatening her heart. This is a heart which is precious to me. This was alarming news.

It was two years ago I approached Linda to be my spiritual director and it was two years ago, while walking a labyrinth, the Lord lifted my burden of self. The dark tunnels of confusion where I had been journeying suddenly opened into an expansive place of freedom. God delivered me. It wasn’t anything I had done special that day or that month. It was simply my time. I had learned all I needed to learn in this season and I soon found myself in a place of freedom and peace with an ever-increasing clarity of sight.

It was here Linda joined me on my journey. My monthly times with her became indispensable to me and to my spiritual life. Spiritual direction can mean different things to different people. Some people understand it to be the art of listening carried out in the context of a trusting relationship. It is when a person is trained to be a competent spiritual guide who companions with another person, listening to that person's life story with an ear for the movement of the Holy, of the Divine.

These past two years have been a watershed of blessing. I came to Linda almost as a newborn bird. The shell had been cracked. I had been set free, but I was scared and lonely and I wasn’t really sure where to go or what to do. My old attachments didn’t work for me anymore and I wasn’t sure who to trust or even how to figure that out.

Linda and Henri Nouwen’s book, The Inner Voice of Love, were constant companions to me as I was healing.

Henri writes, “You must decide for yourself to whom and when you give access to you interior life. For years you have permitted others to walk in and out of your life according to their needs and desires. Thus you were no longer master in your own house.

It is important for you to control your own drawbridge. There must be times when you keep your bridge drawn and have the opportunity to be alone or only with those to whom you feel close. When you claim for yourself the power over your drawbridge, you will discover new joy and peace in your heart and find yourself able to share that joy and peace with others.”

Linda consistently extends a pure, open heart to me and in return she is one of the few to whom I lower my drawbridge for entry. Her generosity and grace have been a profound model and guide of how to have a whole, healthy and open heart which can then share real joy and peace with others. In a word, she has been Christ to me--utterly safe and on my side.

Yesterday I brought her tulips. I heard she was released from the hospital but I did not expect to see her. My plan was to leave them on her front porch and slip away, but the door was open and I was pleasantly surprised to see her seated at her kitchen table.

Linda rose when she saw me. She looked beautiful and it was hard to imagine everything she had just been through. She smiled broadly and gesturing toward her heart said, “Of course, I can’t hug you.” She grabbed both my hands instead.

Involuntary tears came to my eyes and she simply said with her characteristic depth and intensity, “Bless you.”

To bless. In the scriptures this is an imparting of the holy. It is used as either words of praise to God or words to make someone or something holy. This truth was apparently too much for my spirit and I deflected the blessing.

I said almost incredulously, “No. Bless you.” Humbled in her condition and situation she would minister to me. I did not feel worthy of her blessing and I certainly did not feel holy.

Still holding my hands, Linda looked into my eyes, smiled at my tears and persisted with her blessing despite my resistance. She said nothing more but she raised my right hand, and bringing it to her lips, she kissed it.

I stumbled back to my car with tears streaming down my face feeling unworthy, thankful, blessed and knowing I had just experienced the Holy.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Wondering About Water

“and the Spirit of God was hovering over the water.” –Genesis 1:2

I spent the last week on a cruise ship with my family. The waters were calm and bright blue. Every morning I would throw open the curtains of our cabin to see no sign of land. Everywhere ground should have been was endless, moving, powerful water.

By the end of the week even my dreams were filled with the water. I dreamt water gushing all around as I walked or talked. It was everywhere.

My family lives in middle America. The ocean is very far from here. We have visited the ocean, swam and surfed in the ocean, but the water I see on a daily basis is hitting me sideways from the fierce wind as I grocery shop, or is sitting in piles of snow at the side of my driveway. Spending a week on the surface of the deep brought a whole new appreciation for water.

My seven year old son punctuated it for me at dinner one night. He said, “Mom, all of life is connected to the ocean.”

I realize he was quoting a lesson book from first grade as we had just been discussing The Water Cycle and the evaporation of oceans which creates rain, which creates rivers, which flows back to the ocean. However, his comment struck me on a spiritual level as well, because to me, they are inseperable.

We are all connected to the ocean—to the water--and I began to wonder about water. Google tells me that 70.8% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water and up to 78%
of the human body is made up of water. The Bible begins by referencing the surface of the deep and the water.

Jesus famously said, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is who asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water…Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4)

Later in the book of John, Jesus is describing what the Holy Spirit will do in those who believe in him. He says, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow within him.” (John 7)

At creation the Spirit hovered over the water. At my new creation, my new life with Christ, the Spirit no longer hovers rather it dives into the spiritual waters of my soul and flows within me, giving a source of life--powerful, everlasting life.

When you are on the surface of the deep, watching dolphins jump and play, or snorkeling and seeing all the fish and creatures, one is very aware this is just the surface of life. The water is deep, powerful and mysterious.

Amidst the fun of family, activities and friends I found myself reflective about this depth within Creation and within me. I found I was wondering--the kind of wonder that is filled with awe-- about water.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Child

Today The Great I Am is crying.
Everywhere I see He weeps.
Salty tears drip down my window and soak my hair.
Stoplight. He cries. Pass the fairgrounds. He cries.

She rocks in her chair.
Holding the black beaded scarf covering her head.
Soft repetitious mutters.
Unmistakable body language of calamity befallen.

Deep-as-the-Universe restrained expressions of grief.
This one paces. That one hugs. She vacantly shakes her head.
They freeze in prayer. Allah have mercy.
Tired, terrified eyes.

I come and go. There is no relief for this.
An ice pack for her head. Shared anguish for her soul.
The nurse must triage in room 8 and will be with us.
We wait for the impossible-to-know known.

She must see him? She. Must. See. Him.
An unthinkable reunion.
I silently stand. I stare at the clock so my thoughts do not overtake me.
The room is too small for all this anguish.

She mutters her prayers as I mutter mine.
Two coroners, a chaplain, a father and a mother.
And One God.
Allah have mercy. Christ have mercy.

Today The Great I Am is crying.
The grey sad sky pays homage to a mother’s darkest.
Creation must recognize the loss.
The rain, it drips down my window.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Some Thoughts on Faith

Are you like me? Do you subscribe to e-newsletters, news alerts from your favorite sources, weather alerts, and such? If I am not careful I have far too much information coming at me and no more brain space in which to file it.

Today, however, I got one of my many e-newsletters. This one is health related and comes from an alternative medicine clinic near my home. Dr. Nemec, whom I have never met, kindly sends me an email about once a week.

As I head out to gym, his thoughts today are a needed reorientation. What is health? Where does it come from? How is it attained? Here are Dr. Nemec's thoughts on the subject. I wanted to share them with you...

Faith is natural when you follow your heart

Faith is the natural action that comes from following what God has put into your heart. Faith that seems difficult is no faith at all because it is being generated from your ego-filled mind, instead of from your God-filled heart.- Dr. Keith & Laurie Nemec

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. NIV

As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit. -Emmanuel Teney

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase. -Martin Luther King, Jr.

He who has faith has... an inward reservoir of courage, hope, confidence, calmness, and assuring trust that all will come out well - even though to the world it may appear to come out most badly.
-B. C. Forbes

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. NIV

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but (by faith) be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12: 1-2

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. -Marcel Proust