“A young boy who was born into a life of drugs, extreme poverty, danger and destined for a bleak future is defying stereotypes in the most remarkable way. And his latest encounter at a grocery store is bound to open your eyes, widen your mind and capture your heart.
To truly understand just how incredible this encounter was, you need to know some history.
Devonte Hart entered the world 12 years ago with drugs pumping through his tiny newborn body.
By the time he was 4 years old he had smoked, consumed alcohol, handled guns, been shot at, and suffered severe abuse and neglect.
He knew only a handful of words, including fuck and shit, and he struggled to identify with the names of food, body parts and every day objects. Devonte was a violent toddler and his health was weighed down by a heavy list of disabilities.
It was a life with little hope and a future that seemed over before it began.
That is until Jen Hart and her wife Sarah entered Devonte’s life and adopted him and his two siblings seven years ago.
Jen says the day she met Devonte was frightening and traumatic.
“That night, after we finally got him to sleep, I cried harder than I had ever cried in my life. I felt like there was no way we could raise this child, and the five others we had adopted.”
Yet, she says, there was something inexplicable pulling at her heart.
“I felt more connected to this fragile little boy more than I had ever felt to anyone in my life.”
With their unconditional love, nurturing natures, patience and acceptance, Devonte defied all odds and has grown into a young charismatic man with a heart of gold.
e“He inspires me every single day. He has proven doctors, psychologists and teachers wrong. His future is most definitely not bleak, he is a shining star in this world. His light shines bright on everyone on his path.
“People always tell us how lucky he is that we adopted him. I tell you, we most certainly are the lucky ones. Yes indeed he is living proof that our past does not dictate our future.”
KOBANI SURROUNDED? ISIS reportedly attacking town from Turkey
“TURKEY DENIES REPORTS that militants are using its homeland to stage attacks on Syrian town, but Kurdish activists say ISIS is charging from four sides, with one saying, ‘it is now clear that Turkey is openly cooperating’ with ISIS.”
By the gracious gift of God.
You, the Invited,
Receive His Peach.
Heartbeat by heartbeat,
Breath by breath,
In each instant,
His Will comes to you,
To freely choose.
Remain His by faith.
Living in His favor,
A rain of blessing falls,
To water your being,
And penetrate the ground
On which, and in which,
You give consent,
And desire in Love,
And as a plentiful valley,
Moment by moment.
Rooted in the holy,
Sanctified by the Sanctifier,
Life and abundance of fruit,
Are multiplied in you,
And grown up around you,
Grace upon grace,
Help, healing and holiness,
Flow in abundance.
From the springing up,
To the watering flow,
Then to rush,
As to the waiting arms a beloved,
Presuming bath and baptism,
To the in-gathering of rivers,
In consecration and convergence,
Love returns to the Ocean
Of its Source.
As a homecoming,
Cut courses through Time.
The many become seas
To, at long last, mingle
In the Mighty Mind,
And Minder of our souls.
copyright 2014 Joann Nelander
For the poverty in which my mother and father lived, for the failure of the mill, all the hard times, for the awful sheep, for constant tiredness, thank you, my God!
For lips, which I was feeding too much, for the dirty noses of the children, for the guarded sheep, I thank you!
Thank you, my God, for the prosecutor and the police commissioner, for the policemen, and for the harsh words of Father Peyramale!
For the days in which you came, Mary, for the ones in which you did not come, I will never be able to thank you…only in Paradise.
For the slap in the face, for the ridicule, the insults, and for those who suspected me for wanting to gain something from it, thank you, my Lady.
For my spelling, which I never learned, for the memory that I never had, for my ignorance and for my stupidity, thank you.
For the fact that my mother died so far away, for the pain I felt when my father instead of hugging his little Bernadette called me, “Sister Marie-Bernard”, I thank you, Jesus.
I thank you for the heart you gave me, so delicate and sensitive, which you filled with bitterness.
For the fact that Mother Josephine proclaimed that I was good for nothing, thank you. For the sarcasm of the Mother Superior: her harsh voice, her injustices, her irony and for the bread of humiliation, thank you.
Thank you that I was the privileged one when it came to be reprimanded, so that my sisters said, “How lucky it is not to be Bernadette.”
Thank you for the fact that it is me, who was the Bernadette threatened with imprisonment because she had seen you, Holy Virgin; regarded by people as a rare animal; that Bernadette so wretched, that upon seeing her, it was said, “Is that it?”
For this miserable body which you gave me, for this burning and suffocating illness, for my decaying tissues, for my de-calcified bones, for my sweats, for my fever, for my dullness and for my acute pains, thank you, my God.
And for this soul which you have given me, for the desert of inner dryness, for your night and the lightening, for your silences and your thunders, for everything.
For you-when you were present and when you were not—thank you, Jesus. (Saint Bernadette, Saint Bernadette Soubirous, Abbe Francois Trochu)
For what am I thankful? How about that I am.
Yes, I am here, a creature,one among others, willed into existence by the God of All, and He constantly calls me to know Him. I am free, in other words.
Yes, I am free, free to be free of God, if I so choose.
There it is again, scary freedom, free to be ignorant of the One Who calls, the One Who Loves.
He calls through His creation, look at Me, I Am Truth. I Am Beauty. I Am Love. His call proclaims me not one among others, but His one and only. Be not only being but exceedingly blessed. Be, by faith, and “Amen”, My Son. Reign as priest,and prophet and King.
For what am I thankful? I am thankful that I am grateful. With my eyes, I have seen,and with my heart, I have said, “Amen”. I answer “Amen” with my every heartbeat, my very breath. With all the moments of my life, I call to my God, my “Amen”. I am Son, caught up in Triune Being. He wears my “Yes” as eternal glory.
He is, and I am all thanksgiving.
copyright 2014 Joann Nelander
by Sr. LaDonna Pinkelman OSF
St. Paul (in one of his letters) told his friends, “Never worry about anything, but tell God your desires of every kind in prayer and petition filled with gratitude and the peace which is beyond every understanding will guard your heart.”
In November, we celebrate Thanksgiving, a time to remember the many gifts given to us by a gracious God who cares for us endlessly. The Scripture passage, above, says so plainly what can happen when we depend and thank God for the many gifts of our life. Can you imagine how different this world and our lives could be if we all had a heart filled with praise and gratitude?
Let’s take a look at the very ordinary gifts of life that we so often take for granted–the ability to breath (our life source); for gift of sight to see God’s beauty all around, to see the needs of others and do something about it (whenever possible), to see with an inner sight God’s life and light within and let it shine out to all we meet; the ability to smile and spread joy and more joy by our friendliness; for our ears to hear what is good and not so good (helping us make proper choices) to hear God’s Word spoken in prayer and Scripture, in and around us; to speak and talk in kindly ways and not harsh ways; our tongue to taste/savor the gift of food and drink; for the gift of hands to touch tenderly, to grasp and hold (for they are always handy); our fingers to move and put things together, screw and unscrew, to hold a pen and pencil (WHAT WOULD WE DO WITHOUT THEM?); FOR the gift of our feet–to walk, run, move from place to place; our mind/intelligence, to think, to ponder and learn for our good and the good of others (allowing us to work carefully for others); for faith, spirituality and religion that brings meaning and life to us and all God’s People; for our families, relationships and co-workers who give purpose and meaning to love, living out our daily ordinary lives. These are only a few of ordinary gifts. We could go on and on.
When we can readily think of things we are grateful for, we more than likely have a grateful heart and healthy spirituality. Let us make it a practice to praise and thank God with a heart filled with gratitude and love (even when it is difficult). And yes, the peace beyond understanding will be an added gift from God for our life.
Sr. La Donna Pinkelman, OSF