What’s Ahead for Your New Year?

mohamed mohamed mahmoud hassan, New Year

I am not a fortune teller, so I don’t have the foggiest idea what this new year is going to evolve into. I can only hope, pray, and work towards a year of renewed beginnings for greater productivity for that which I am called to do.

Each year we feel relieved in some way that the former year is far behind us and that we can somehow navigate through each new day happier and more fulfilled. In reality, we know we will face the joy of the good-better-best which will be interwoven with events of the bad-worse-worst.

While we cannot control what happens in our daily goings and comings, we can control our attitude towards said occurrences. As the road ahead looks questionable, adventurous and often a little scary, we can start each day with the mantra to do our best with what we have, and not go ballistic over what we don’t have or probably shouldn’t have. Do your best, and once you’ve done that, learn from your mistakes, don’t repeat them, let it go, and then move onward.


When Life Feels Like a Roller Coaster, Strap In and Ride

Roller coaster, amusement park ride

Paul Brennan

With twists, bends, turns, and jerks
ups and downs, loops and rounds on a rollercoaster,
some find the ride exhilarating
while others find the ride terrifying.

Such is life, on the journeys we tread, with all of the highs and lows and unexpected turns, we sometimes feel like we are freefalling. As we near the end of such tests, we find this ride of experience glides on balanced rails and the rollercoaster coasts on a level track where you will survive the treacherous passage.


You know, to Think of True Purpose is Not a Bad Thing

Purpose, Nature


Have you stopped to deeply think about what purpose everything surrounding us serves? Not necessarily about yourself, but about what exists around you? Have you stepped into the great outdoors, without the distractions of your mobile and digital devices, and just took the time to sit in a park, along a beach or atop a mountain and reflected with gratitude about creation? 

Have you stopped to think about the purpose natural air filtration from trees affect the way we breathe or the purpose each insect, reptile, animal or marine life serves in our ecosystem and how we benefit from it? Have you ever considered how manmade pollution is disrupting the natural flow of life and its effects on our health?

Ecosystem, Purpose

George Hodan

All too often we tend to become so consumed with an overabundance of “things” trying to outdo each other with superficial notoriety, yet finding ourselves in a pit of unhappiness, because the stuff no longer satisfies our temporary desires? Someone will always obtain something more spectacular than what you have and outshine your jewels.

Yep, there is a time for every purpose under the heavens, whether you are an Olympic Gold Medalist, a celebrity, an entertainer or the richest person in the world. There will always be someone bigger, prettier, stronger, richer, better and more fabulous than you. Yet in your shining moment when you feel on top of the world, just remember that this is only for your defined period of time, and then you make way for the next person to step up to the plate and serve their purpose. This does not mean you’re washed up, it just means that you move on to your next life-fulfilling assignment.

Winners, Purpose, Life

Peter Griffin

Raising the Dead?

Death, Dead, Life

Circe Denyer

He came back from the dead. She came back from the dead. It came back from the dead. Is this possible? The appearance of lifelessness does not necessarily mean that something is dead. Lethargy can mimic characteristics of death but is there such a thing as the dead really walking?

No, this is not an essay about the walking dead. You cannot bring someone or something back from the dead, because if we had that kind of divine power, many loved ones we miss dearly would not remain residents in cemeteries or tombs.

Life is not a sci-fi movie, although at times some mindsets believe that it is. If something is revived and comes back to life, it wasn’t dead, life was simply dormant and not pulsating or thriving at the time. We are not extraterrestrials with an ability to touch something or someone who is dead and bring them back to life just like that, as sometimes depicted in the movies.

One can feel lifeless inside, but when you swallow the vivacious nectar of life, hope, and faith, you become exuberant again. Take a plant, for example, that may appear to be a goner on the outside. Perhaps replanting it in new soil or a bigger pot, giving it water, sunlight or plant food may help to renew and revive it again.

C.S. Lewis spoke about many ballads and folk-tales alluding to the dead telling us that our mourning does them some kind of wrong. They beg us to stop it. Does this mean that we err to continue with our rituals of sorrow like visiting graves or perhaps keeping the bedroom of a departed loved one the same as if they were still alive? We can’t deny our sadness, but we can’t let it shut ‘our’ living down.

The inevitable is inevitable. Dead is beyond repair.  To salvage a life, the source of life has to still exist within, no matter how deep, in order to give something or someone the chance to grow and truly thrive once more.

In Search of the WOW Factor

Exotic Bird

George Hodan – Victoria Crowned Pigeon (Goura Victoria)

Think about those things that make you go “WOW.”

Boulder, Sequoia Park

TBridget Mac – Huge boulder at Sequoia Park, making a tunnel

My WOW has certainly evolved over the years. What I wowed about as a child is different from my wow as a teen. My wow as an adult continues to evolve into wows of simple, overlooked, awe-inspiring treasures.

Jezebel Butterfly

Jean Beaufort – Common Jezebel Butterfly on a Marigold

Sometimes we look for those over-the-top, extravagant, mindblowing creations and miss the spectacular “wows” and “whoa’s” that appear before our very eyes.

Lava, Volcano

Jean Beaufort – Flowing Hot Lava from a Volcano

Sometimes those wows can naturally depict the image of an ironsmith’s workshop through the flow of firebreathing lava.

Banyan Tree

Andrew Schmidt – Large, Banyan tree outside the zoo entrance in Kapiolani Park, Honolulu, HI

Or our wows can stem from gazing at the artistry of a banyan tree whose aerial branch roots cascade downward to build a village of intimate shelters.

ocean, lighthouse, birds

Karen Arnold – Sunset over the ocean with lighthouse, birds, and grass

Even in the midst of great storms our senses are zeroing in on mindboggling wow moments that teach priceless lessons! Sometimes those lessons are simple, tranquil and breathtaking moments. Moments that make you go ‘WOW!”

How Far Do You Search for a Miracle?

 Miracles, Life

Image Credit: fotoshop fs


Sometimes we are so busy looking for big marvels to appear when we want them to…something phenomenal and spectacular that materializes like a rabbit suddenly being pulled from a magician’s hat.

Miracles, Life

Image Credit: Anna Langova

Yet in our searching and wishing for the miracles we want to appear at any moment from our pleading and prayers, we fail to see the multitude of miracles that already surround us, those we fail to recognize and are incapable of truly acknowledging.

Life, butterflies, Miracles

Image Credit: Petr Kratochvil

Sometimes we are so eager to seek a miracle so great that we fail to see the beautiful miracle of life we possess inside of us.

Life, Miracles

Image Credit: mohamed mohamed mahmoud hassan