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I am just one

I am just one.
It is an honor to be given a leadership award.
It is humbling to be boasted of and acknowledged for doing what your heart leads you to do.
It is easy to forget that you are simply a conduit from generosity offered to needs being met when your name is announced and applause and recognition surrounds you.
God didn’t wire me to understand that as a need, or even as a desire. God wired me to listen, hug, seek, find and connect. Simply I am the one between you and the one who needs you. I truly am nothing more. God has allowed me that privilege to see His work unfold right in front of my eyes and THAT inspires me.
Your generosity, your unselfishness, your intrinsic offering of time and effort thrills me, lifts me, energizes me.
You deserve the credit, not me.
I am only one who has said to God “here I am, use my eyes, ears, hands, feet and heart”.
You are THE one who also allows Him to do the same and to make things happen.
I cannot tend to yard work for seniors on my own.
I cannot pull off youth outreaches on my own.
I cannot create and deliver care bags, Christmas Dinners, Easter Baskets, meals on my own.
I cannot pull off the prom dress give away, winter clothing/houseshold item give away, bicycle recycle, summer youth outreaches, holiday outreaches, create and deliver 800+ sack lunches, or rally funds, action, or meet the crisis needs that are met without you.
I may hear the need but you meet it.
I may have responded to my calling, but you have listened to the voice as well.
I am simply blessed to be in this corner of the world with an enormous amount of walking angels who care to better the world by improving lives and putting hope in the homes within our arm’s reach.
I have already received more than any award or recognition can offer.
May the award, the recognition, the acknowledgement of good being done draw more eyes, ears, hands, feet and hearts to the needs right here and right now.
We have done much, but as you are well aware there is so much more to do.
Let us take a second and feel the pat on the back and feel the warmth of knowing we are making ripples that are reaching so many within our community, but then let us get back on the path of wanting more….
More seniors helped by our hands and feet.
More youth lifted by our mentorship and guidance.
More struggling to have basic needs met with our generosity and unconditional kindness.
More light in the darkness that hinders the beautiful spirits within our hugging arm’s reach.
Let’s show up more often. Let’s offer more of what we can offer.
Let’s judge less and love more.
Let us continue to be recognized as a community of loving citizens who care about, provide aid for, and lift up those who struggle within the boundaries of us being able to make a difference.
Let us be the change that makes the world a better place.
Let us start here…in this corner of the world.
Let us start where we can truly make a difference….here and now.
I so proudly stand here with you and so humbly walk with you.
I am so very blessed to know and love you and love others with you.
As you can see in the pictures I am just one…..of so many. Together we do much.
Peace, love and my wholehearted commitment to here and now,
Terri O’Neill-Borders
www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

 

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~ April 9, 2019 (Upon receiving Governor’s Volunteer Service Award)

The numbers we need to feel good about.

If anyone has watched even 5 minutes of news over the past few weeks you understand the importance of numbers.
The number of diagnosed.
The number of states affected.
The number of deaths.
 
Numbers have been blasted at us and I do believe we are getting numb to them. Who wouldn’t?
 
I have been blessed and broken to respond to multiple weather catastrophes. At the onset of each of those catastrophes I had heard the numbers of deceased, the numbers of those injured, the numbers who lost their homes. It appeared that a tornado or flood only gained news worthy space if the numbers were great enough to attract attention of the viewers, as if one death or one family homeless was not tragic, but 20 dead and 100 homeless deemed worthy of the first 10 minutes of the newscast. In each situation I arrived, I found myself moving through homes where “one” who was in need of hands and feet and at those times I found myself focused on not all in need but that “one”.
 
Now there is a ticker of numbers on the screen and we have become numb to those waching the numbers of those diagnosed, and even worse numb to the number who have become victim to COVID 19.
One to suffer was one too many.
One life lost has impacted countless others.
One unsuspecting victim who was thrust into a suffocating and isolated death should be enough to stop us in our track and take a knee.
What can you do to stop it from affecting one more?
Yes, stay home.
When you are out be safe, take precaution, be aware of the risks you present to others and that they present to you, and remember we are NOT avoiding the person near us not accepting of who they are, we are avoiding the virus that is invisibly attacking the innocent potentially through each and every one who we are.
Yes, reduce your physical one to one connection with people not in your immediate household. This is truly hard because people thrive on relationships. People need people, and that is beautiful. But for now we need to love them from a “safe distance”.
Safe for them, safe for your loved ones, and safe for you.
Offer what you can, as you are able.
If you are not one of the over 10 million people who have applied for unemployment, you are truly blessed. Your number hasn’t been promoted because it doesn’t draw the rubberneckers. I am thankful for you to still be employed!
If you are able to offer #plusone your offering would benefit one who has been sent home; one that has been deemed “non-essential”.
I envision this separation between those that have work and those that do not to be like the high school gym class where two are chosen to pick teams and they go through the peers in front of them picking whom they would like to be on their team to assure them the best chance for winning. Were any of you one of the last ones picked? Were you made to feel “non-essential” in that experience as a young person? Now we have college graduates, adults, parents, “bread winners” for the household who have experienced a similar feeling of rejection being told to “stay home” with no pay until this passes, only to hold onto hope that their employer will be one of the fortunate ones to reopen their doors once this darkness passes.
I am asking that we concentrate on those numbers in a positive way, bringing what we can into this most difficult chapter.
How can we meet the needs of the “non-essential”, the unemployed, the households that have fallen in the cracks- not diagnosed, not dead but suffering through this crisis?
 
Well my friend, you have done an amazing job for the past few weeks and I want to commend that effort and recognize the following numbers!
More than 130 fresh cooked meals have been delivered to a home that is struggling through this as a gift from a business owner, or a “friend” who sponsored that meal.
More than 115 relief deliveries have been gathered and delivered; offering paper products, cleaning products, personal care items, fresh food and non-perishable foods. We have families with 1-5 kids struggling to keep basic needs in their homes; we have families that were 2 income households, and now are none. We have families that are huddled up trying to keep a positive face in front of their children but behind that mask is worry of how to meet needs now, wondering how long the lack of income will last, and IF there will be a return to “normal” life that was the norm before March 13th.
5 seniors who didn’t know who to call for help have called to ask for help in getting needed food, prescriptions and needs. Volunteers have stepped forward to meet that need.
More than 120 calls were made to check in, ask what we can do to help, and offer a compassionate voice at the other end of the phone. All of those called said they would love to have follow up “check in” calls.
A plethora of Amazon shoppers have made two a day Amazon drops a regular happening at my home because you have frequented the link set up by Lemont Calvary Church.
Multiple Amazon drivers most likely hate seeing my address on their delivery route
Shop from home for “gold Items” via our Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/285TQBER3MHMQ/ref=cm_go_nav_hz
 
Countless walking angels have stepped forward to offer what they can as they are able.
More than 7 local business owners have stepped forward to lock arms with us to create a life preserver for those who are drowning in this shut down, while also trying to save themselves, offering their business location for our donations, setting up as a drop location, food donations, meals cooked. The awe inspiring selfless beauty of this is that they have not sought public attention or appreciation for themselves or for their business, they have reached out to me to do what they can as they are able and never asked me to promote their generosity in any way or form. I am so very blessed to see God work through those who allow the strength of unconditional love to flow through them to those who have been knocked to the mat by this gut wrenching, breath taking “life blow” while trying to stand up through the storm themselves.
 
I ask you to focus on one number.
One.
You are one who can make a difference.
You offering what you can as you are able makes a difference and already has.
Your donation, offering of help, prayers and support matters.
No one needs to offer more than they are able, if possible we are simply asking you to offer #plusone
 
Hope and Friendship Foundation began the “relief delivery” collection drive on Friday March 13th – 21 days ago- when the doors to our schools had to be closed. This “relief” was engaged immediately knowing that our families in need needed more help than ever before, and knowing that the number of our families “in need” would immediately grow; this has been a reality and the numbers will keep growing. School District 113A has offered lunches to anyone who needs them since the onset of the school doors having to close.
More than 200 have recently accepted that help and received lunches every day from a smiling staff who is working to provide a safe and loving place to arrive for much needed food.
Hope and Friendship has received 110 of those lunches and put them in homes that were not previously receiving them.
 
I could go on with the number of thank you’s, the number of calls for help, the numbers of texts/calls/messages of stress and worry, the numbers of those reaching out on the first of the month worried about rent and mortgage, and the numbers of households that were already entered into a war to survive and now have this added to the battle. They are tired. They are bruised and battered. They are within our arm’s reach and simply need hope, love and light to see that there will be an end to this crisis, and that this is NOT their end.
 
The numbers you see on the news will increase; I hope to offset that with the numbers that you are reaching here in our corner of the world. I hope you will know that your #plusone makes a difference to one. It truly matters.
 
What we are experiencing is overwhelming. It may seem like what we can offer, our #plusone, cannot possibly matter, I understand we cannot save them all, however what we are doing matters. One by one we are touching lives, lifting spirits and putting hope in what seems like a hopeless situation. It matters to that one.
 
The Starfish Story- One night, on a sandy beach, a terrible storm started. It rained. The wind blew so hard that it shook the houses along the beach. The next morning was foggy and gloomy. Many starfish had washed up on the beach. A man walked out on the beach to look around. Peering into the mist he saw a young man walking along the beach. He saw him throwing starfish back into the ocean. He walked up to him and said, “Why are you throwing those starfish back into the ocean? They’ll just wash back up on the beach again. It doesn’t matter.” Without a word the young man bent over, picked up a starfish, and threw it with all his might. It went way out in the ocean. The young man turned to the man that questioned his efforts and said, “It mattered to that one.”
#youmatter #theymatter #allareessential #loveall #wewillallgetthroughthistogether #conqueringCOVID19 #hopeandfriendshipfoundation #reliefbags #beautifulcorneroftheworld #VillageofLemont #ilovethiscorneroftheworld
Wishing you peace, love and healthy days,
Terri
 
When you are out be safe, be precaution, be aware of the risks you present to others and that they present to you.
 
Hope and Friendship Foundation
721 Hickory St, Lemont, IL 60439
630-816-4972
 
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 31: 8-9

Deep breathes and baby steps. You were not meant to stay in this chapter.

Deep breathes and baby steps are the manner to cope with those dreaded pulse rushing, breath taking, stress filled, slow moving ticks of life’s clock between the moments of where you are, and where you are going; that page turning period of time between the chapter where things are just not as they should be, and the one where you realize you should not have not taken so long to step forward.

We are created to succeed.

We are created to thrive.

We are created to better the world.

We have been created by the One who is the ultimate example of peace, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and unconditional love to be exactly that.

How can we be satisfied with being any less?

When we are in a period of our lives that inhibits us from being what we were created to be, what are the chains that keep us there?

Who, what, where is the force that empowers us to move forward?

How to we channel into that force to break those chains?

We understand the needs, the requirements, the rules of being grown up, but do we understand the repercussion of having our beings, our spirits from being restrained, unmotivated and uninspired to allow the power of that “ultimate peace, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and unconditional love” to work through us?

Our time here is simply less than we will ever understand it to be, unfortunately, until it is over.

At that time will we be reduced to a fetal position wishing we had stepped forward faster?

Will we realize that the power was within us all along and the chains were not on us, rather spoken to us by those weaker than us? We know that words cannot break our bones, words cannot stop our steps, but only be distractions in our ears and our heads that weaken our spirit.

I am speaking today to tell you to KNOW that you are not chained to where you are and your only obligation to this world, to this time, to this chapter, to the One who created you in perfect love is to thrive, step forward, be fearless, understand that you are created to be a conduit and you cannot be that when you are simply going through the motions.

Unleash the worries that laden you.

Burn the ships that surround you in your mind.

Quiet the voices that cause you chaos in your ears.

Center yourself in knowing you are beautifully, wonderfully, and perfectly made.

Think of the changes you have been placed on this earth to be a part of.

Know the power of your kind, gentle and gracious words of love, grace and mercy that so many within your arm and voice’s reach are so ravenous to receive.

Do not contribute to the pain in the world by being fearful of turning the page.

You are here for a purpose and that purpose is not to be smothered by the fears, the thirst for power, and the self-interest of those who surround you.

Take a moment to close your eyes and be thankful for this moment.

This moment.

Where you were in the last moment broke you down, where you are to be in the next moment will allow you to be the best you, better your corner of the world, your community, your relationships, your workplace, your neighborhood, your spouse, your child(ren), those you were put in the path of and vice versa.

Now deep breath, baby step, move to the next chapter….

Don’t look back, only look forward and within.

It was put within you long before you knew you would need it.

New chapter. Page one.

You have this….you were created to be more than where you were and you will understand only when you step forward into where you are needed to be.

Open those wings.

Let loose that spirit, passion, desire to not be dragging through life but instead making every step you put your foot forward into more vibrant, more impassioned, more full of love, peace, grace and mercy because you were there to be the conduit of it.

Let’s do this.

Together, as one, with the One, who already saw our strengths long before we mustered than up.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Eph 2:10

Wishing you peace,
Terri

Terri O’Neill-Borders

Email- terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

Website- www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

WordPress- https://hopeandfriendshipfoundation.wordpress.com/

Hope and Friendship Foundation
721 Hickory St, Lemont, IL  60439
630-816-4972

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 31: 8-9

What truly constitutes a bad day?

Ever vocalize “My life stinks!”.
Did you chalk off today off as a “bad day”???
It’s so easy to say this but what truly constitutes a bad day?
Hair and nails need to be done and no time?
Work day a rough one?
People you deal with mean and selfish?
Kids, marriage, family a mess?
Granted those are speed bumps hindering you moving forward toward where you want to be, but walk with me on this….parts of a day can be bad but do they really negate all and any of the good in your life?
Today I had a few down minutes and sent out “love” to a few friends that I knew have had some “bad days” in the last few months.
I try to do that often but as you know “life happens”…..I fall behind.
So during “conversation” with one of my friends, she told me she was planning on contacting me today to share a photo that she knew I’d want to have.
The headstone was laid yesterday on the grave of their 6 week old daughter.
I was called to their side in June and stood by them as we walked through what would level any parent.
I was able to make meals, buy staples for the house (toilet paper, paper plates, etc. for all who were stopping by to visit), and buy a few need things for the 3 year old big brother who was grieving as well.
Donors to Hope and Friendship Ministries/Foundation made this assistance possible.
So today as I was buying diapers for other friends in need: 18 month old needing diapers, food for 2 families who had empty pantries, I receive this text, this picture and this reminder that as long as the days may be, and as exhausting as this calling may drain me, I am walking among angels that are helping to meet needs of those within our arm’s reach who are financially, physically and emotionally unable to pick themselves up without the hand of a friend.
May God Bless you and yours for you truly bless them and theirs.
May you be comforted by the “good” in your tomorrows to ride you through the rough parts knowing that I am impassioned to make sure that we will surround you, aide you, love you, and walk with you though the valley.
Peace & love my dear friends,
Terri
P.S. God Bless those that are laying their heads down tonight with such heavy and broken hearts. May He guide us to them and with the strength and capacities to love and aide them

Wishing you peace,
Terri

Terri O’Neill-Borders

Email- terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Website- www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Wordpress- https://hopeandfriendshipfoundation.wordpress.com/

Hope and Friendship Foundation
721 Hickory St, Lemont, IL  60439
630-816-4972

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 31: 8-9

Notes from a Mission Stay Saturday that I thought rained ruined…

Years ago I wrote about how I had learned, via a hard lesson, that I needed to release my grip from the pen. My son was very ill, lying in a hospital near his college, lucky to be alive. We were granted grace, but on a road that required patience, strength and prayer. When the ER doctor told me that my son was lucky to be alive, I should’ve been unconditionally and unequivocally grateful and willing to move through any speed bump or hurdle that followed….but I didn’t read that rule book. I fussed to God through the botched surgery, the painful recovery-times two, the unanswered questions, and the unknown prognosis of his future. I continued to wrestle God for the pen with all of my being and energy. I wanted to rewrite this chapter and carefully pen the next, I was not happy with how He was writing our story. I realized quickly that this was a futile effort and a waste of prayer and spirit energy. We are either fully in, or not in at all. We will either realize to submit to the One who has not created us to fail but to soar, or we will be a pain in His most holy bottom side.

I have no doubt God will roll His eyes, and brace Himself, when/if I come sauntering through those pearly gates. Beginning with my morning prayer, the rest of the prayers through the day, and before I go to sleep I somehow imagine Him to have his chin resting on His hand listening intensively but waiting for His chance to speak. As I fight Him for the pen, I also fail to allow Him to speak to me as often as I should. When I sit in silence and feel His presence I always wrestle with why I don’t do that more, or sooner, because He really does know what He is doing!!!

My day began this very way on Saturday June 9th, with a wrestling match in prayer.

3am- A crash of thunder.

“Hello God. I know you are awake as I am. Could you solve this rain issue by 8am, please? Really this is “your” deal that we are committed to do, NOT mine! We have 5 hours to solve this predicament. You know we have people coming out to help because YOU moved them to do so. I know YOU don’t want to deter those who are willing to give time and effort, so I know YOU will fix this situation to work for YOUR will and not mine.”

4am-Sound of pouring rain, thunder, and add lightening to the mix.

“Hello God. It’s going to be a difficult mow and yard work day if you don’t cut this storm out soon. Just sayin….”

5am-(No difference in the sound from two hours prior.) “Hello God. Can you hear me?”

5:08am- (Same sound. Same storm. I place the pillow over my face and grumble.)

“I don’t mean to be a pain but I’m getting a little stressed here!”

6:00am- “Ok God, you put me on this path. I didn’t ask, nor have I complained (too much), but if you want us to do YOUR will today and finish these lawns for the seniors these thunderstorms will have to stop soon, unless you have a miracle drying plan in mind.”

6:45am (My phone begins blowing up with texts asking what the plan is.)

“Ok God you have this. I told them I’m not cancelling because I know your will is for us to help those that need help, soooooo I trust you have this. P.S. I told them you do.”

7:45am (Still pouring rain heightened with claps of thunder and flashes of lightening)

“As you can see, God, I am heading towards the Police Station to see if anyone shows up. Everyone would have to know that the rain must have been out of your control. As you know I really really was hoping to make a difference and help these seniors today, especially our friend who will be leaving us soon and entering life with you. Sometimes I know I’m a pain God, but I just want things to work out.”

7:48am- (I stay quiet and just pray to be guided on what to do.)

7:50am- Inspiration hits, because I stop cluttering it with grumbling nonsense….I turn the car around and go home to get paper, markers, pens and a large envelope. I head back towards the Police Department hoping, just hoping that people will be there because there is a Plan B!!!

8:05am- I, and about twenty others, gathered in the training room of the Police Department and create letters of love and support for one of the friends we were to have visited today. I received word just two days ago that she just entered into hospice care. She may not have been able to enjoy the work we would have completed on the outside of her home, but she surely would enjoy the expression of compassion, love and faith that was communicated to her through an envelope filled with letters from friends she never met but who cared to “show up” in her hour of need. For more than an hour people who “showed up” to mow, weed, trim bushes and trees, and clean up a yard instead poured their hearts and passion into the most beautiful communications of unconditional love that I have seen. Their heart and love transferred through my worn out, overused markers and older than the first loaf of sliced bread paper, becoming love letters to a friend in the battle; a friend nearing the end of her battle, and the family surrounding her wanting to see her feel peace and love.

This group of walking angels showed up to put their body to task to lift hearts and spirits and they instead sat down and put their hearts and spirits to task and filled a tired body, heart and spirit with the exact support she needed.

Had the rain stopped, as I wanted it to, this beautiful act of compassion would not have been accomplished.

9:20am I delivered an envelope packed with letters from beautiful people who cared to write them, to a beautiful person who needed to read them. Support arrives to a home in the exact form that it was needed, as He had planned all along. The storm was a type of irony. We faced a storm that changed our plans, and our friend and her family was going through a storm of their own that was painfully altering theirs.

He inspired this act of kindness what appeared to be a dark and dreary morning when the sun could not be seen by the eyes, yet wound up being deeply felt by the heart.

Once again I was taught that I am not the one who should hold the pen. I could have written a page in a chapter that read of mowed lawns, trimmed bushes, trees, and pulled weeds, but I would not have written of poetic and artistic expressions of love to a heart and spirit who balanced on the edge of here and heaven. I would’ve only touched the surface, He allowed us to touch deeper.

“God I owe you an apology (again). I submit once again, God, as a flush-faced, humbled servant who thought I knew “the plan” and begrudgingly followed along as you showed me that you had a better one.

I will forever remember this day and this lesson, the experience and the love that came from a stormy Saturday morning that produced much light, hope and love that you had hoped to shine on one you dearly love.

I forfeit the pen, God, and I humbly step back and hope you will be patient with me as I gratefully continue to watch you weave such beautiful acts of kindness with those who “show up” and allow you to work through them here in this corner of the world.

#missionstaysaturdays #hopeandfriendshipfoundation #releasethepen #GodsPlan #HeNeverFails #LoveNeverFails #thiscorneroftheworld #RIPfriend #CancerSucks #lightinthestorm

Next Mission Stay Saturday July 14 meet us at the Lemont Police Department at 8am.
Wishing you peace and comfort,
Terri

Terri O’Neill-Borders
Email- terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Website- www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Wordpress- https://hopeandfriendshipfoundation.wordpress.com/

Hope and Friendship Foundation
721 Hickory St, Lemont, IL  60439
630-816-4972

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 31: 8-9

 

 

The cry of a child

This week many of us were moved by the heart-wrenching cry of a child. A child we do not know, and nor will meet. The outcry around the world was for children who were obviously experiencing trauma. Children, we were told, who were separated from their families then placed in a facility very unlike the home they knew, and cried out wanting to return to. Children, we could see and hear, who were clearly afraid, sad and fearful of where they were, what they didn’t understand, and that they would not be reunited with those they love.

The sound of the children crying moved men, women, politicians, teachers, child advocates, athletes, clergy, those who names we are familiar with and those whose names will never be known to us.

The cry of a child evoked much reaction and action, as every child’s sincere and heartfelt cry should do.

Our God is a most wise Father, leader and teacher and once again I have felt the presence of Him busy teaching me, moving me and pulling me deeper this past week.

I, too, heard the cry of the child that you heard, and of a few children you didn’t.

I too was moved with concern for the children who would never forget the trauma that was now a part of their memory and being.

My heart ached throughout this week hearing that painful call for help from the children I didn’t know, and from the children that I do.

What do you remember from your childhood?

Most likely you don’t remember all of the meals you ate; the feeling of the bed you slept in; what toilet paper was in your bathroom; or possibly not even each of the bikes you rode, which at the time were most likely a very important possession of your younger years.

However, I guarantee you can recall from your memory bank: abuse that you experienced; a death, loss or separation of a loved one; hardship that you lived through; violence that you witnesses; a trauma that you experienced that still lingers on your mind, in your heart and is permanently etched in your being. Perhaps when you heard that cry this week it brought back memories of a cry from your past, or your child’s.

The cry we heard created a reaction that set in motion action, as every child’s sincere and heartfelt cry should do.

One of the blessings that God has granted me is to be present in the lives of children here and now in our corner of the world. For this blessing I thank Him every single day, and I often fall to my knees pleading with Him to help me do more for them when I hear their cry. Sometimes the cry has been a sob, sometimes it is one held back for too long trying to overcome the fear to share with me something bothering them, often it is in their acting out (then being “rewarded” with more time with me aka. community service, for which becomes an opportunity to “deepen” our friendship, and in retrospect hopefully not viewed as punishment after all). Sometimes the cry comes from the mouth of a very young friend, sometimes a vulnerable and hurting teen, and sometimes from one who has passed through the halls our high school and emerged on the other side unsure and nervous of what the future is to hold for them.

This week I sat and listened to multiple cries all from beautiful yet broken hearts of those way too young to be in such pain. It was an unusual week that gifted me with the time and opportunity to sit face to face with five different young friends who have or are experiencing trauma and hardships in their lives; trauma that they will forever carry with them. Over and over I found myself putting my hands on, and around them and telling them to not allow the trials to break them but to strengthen them so that they can rise above and soar to who they are created to be. Words that were said and heard, but that will only become reality with action by them, but more importantly offered with action from myself and other adults who surround them in this corner of the world.

We can calm the storm, provide relief, and walk them from the trauma onto a path that will take them to a happier and healthier future. But will we?

We as adults can teach or taunt; help or harm; support or scar; build up or break down; be the encouragement they need to spread their wings and soar, or the reason they never feel that feeling of pride and confidence to become what they were created to be.

We may not be able to fix the situation, but we can better it.

We may not be able to keep them from trials in their life, but we can surely do our best to not add trauma into it.

We can create more opportunities to hear their laughter and not turn our head and ignore their cry.

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” ~ Matthew 19:14

The cry of children ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning                                                               “When we sob aloud, the human creatures near us pass by, hearing not, or answer not a word! ‘Our Father!’ If He heard us, He would surely (for they call Him good and mild” Answer, smiling down the steep world very purely, ‘Come and rest with me, my child’. “

This past week my heart has truly ached with a desire to calm the cry, the pain, the fear of what is and what will be of a child far from my reach and here within my reach. My prayers have been, and will continue to be, that more hearts than mine will feel the call to be God in this world and allow Him to work through us to move us to every and any action we can produce that will calm the cry, heal the heart, lift the spirit and unconditionally love any and all child. To love the world as God loves us, with mercy, grace and unconditional love. Not just the easy ones but every one. To be the extension of His love that moves Him to greet us on our final day with open arms and an exclamation of “Well done my child, come, be safe, be loved as I love you, and as you have loved my children.”

Wishing you peace and comfort,
Terri

Terri O’Neill-Borders

Email- terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

Website- www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

WordPress- https://hopeandfriendshipfoundation.wordpress.com/

Hope and Friendship Foundation
721 Hickory St, Lemont, IL  60439
630-816-4972

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 31: 8-9

Do you remember when you first heard the mother-load of life lessons?

You most likely first rolled your eyes at this statement hearing it come from one you called parent. One whom you were convinced was put on this earth to bark out clichés, cause you to become dizzy from the amount of eye rolls necessary to respond to the one-liners, and make you do things that were totally “unfair”. Then to your protests of this blatant imbalance in life, they would firmly reply to you the relic of all clichés: “Life isn’t fair!” After they dropped that one, the mother-load of life lessons that they felt was their duty to impart on you would come rolling out of their mouths with ease and emphasis: “Nothing worth having comes easy”.

How many times have you wished to prove that wrong?

How many times have you tried to prove that wrong?

Ever try to take a short cut through the wooded area that is marked “No trespassing” and find yourself battling a massive walking wounded case of poison ivy for the next couple weeks? Walking around the forbidden path would have only taken 2 more minutes. In hindsight was it worth it?

As a student ever “share answers” with your BFF only to have to serve detentions, groundings, AND earn a zero that threatened your entire grade?

Have you tried that fad diet? That latest “sure to lose 10 pound” practice? Ever purchase those diet pills that promoted model-like physiques that were guaranteed to be THE quick result, and totally worth any and all side effects that might occur.

Try that “no work out, eat what you want and follow with this cleanse” yet?

How’d that work for you?

Staying fit and healthy in mind, body and spirit is HARD!!! There is no easy pill, practice, or drink to bring us to the best we can be. Only hard work and a commitment to want to be in that place.

As much as we cringe to say it, those elders who bellowed that phrase most likely had many battle scars and lessons learned to back up their belief in what they preached.

Today we are in what appears to be the quiet days of Holy Week. Kind of a let down from the “party like it’s 0 AD” celebration the city had upon the arrival of the One who was sent from God to change the world. On Monday was Jesus and his nursing headaches and sore feet? No, Jesus was up early with his BFFs in tow and heading to where his heart and spirit needed to be: His Father’s house. Upon arriving I’m afraid Jesus caused even more of a scene on Monday than He did on Sunday. On this day, this quiet Monday, while He was under watch by the ones who were determined to take him down, Jesus made sure everyone knew how He felt about those who did not respect His Father’s house.

Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” ~ Matt 21:12-13

Jesus put himself on the fast track for His days on this earth to be numbered even quicker than they already were.

Jesus never took the easy path, He never did the “avoid eye contact so you can’t say you saw it” move, or the “I know this is wrong but I don’t want to upset anyone” approach. Jesus was always very clear: right is right, wrong is wrong and the way to Heaven is not going to be earned without a messy, challenging, scar producing, battle tried and tested walk. He came to show us that the entrance to Heaven, the “paradise” that He wants to share with us isn’t going to earned by saying “please” and “thank you” and punching your Sunday church going card.

You’re going to have to upset some tables, get your feet dirty walking the harder road, lose some friends, change some habits, push yourself to have the expectations of yourself that He has for you: to live in His image. Now that doesn’t mean to go seeking an opportunity to overturn some physical tables, though it does sound like a stress reliever. It means however you may have to turn down that offer to do that thing that you were feeling kind of unsure about, it may mean you have to have a face to face with that someone that you owe an apology to, or perhaps you have been representing yourself in one manner and carrying on a completely different lifestyle on the flipside. It would be easier to live a life of ease than it will be to live the life that will bring you to the face of God to hear the words: “Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. We are so very glad that you’re here.” We won’t get there by letting someone out of the parking lot before us, nor will we get there by going to church every day. You have to be the “church” every day. You have to live a life that is beautiful, pure and holy in the eyes of God. Living the commandments, especially the most important one as He stated: “Love the Lord thy God with all of your heart, and with all of your soul, and with all of your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself.” This IS not easy, nor is how hard it is fair.

There is no pill, easy track plan or sofa-sitting method to stay fit and healthy.

There is no sign on the dotted line, profess your name as a Christian and enter into Heaven guarantee.

In fact Jesus was quite clear to tell the truly kind, good Christian wealthy man, who so badly wanted to be a follower of His, how hard it is: “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven.” Wealth is not just money. Some have a wealth of time. Are you sharing it? Some have God given talents and gifts that could better the lives of those around them. Are you using them to help others? Some have funds that could meet a need of a neighbor within their reach. Are you offering that? You might be the one that has the ability to offer to fill some empty time by offering to drive someone to the pantry, pick up a prescription, join in a group that is helping offer the assistance of lawn care for a senior; mentor a young person who has been hurt by the elders that he has been given to; or lift the spirit of a very lonely senior who feels the world has not only passed them by, but truly forgotten them.

Choosing this walk is hard. Choosing to live to please Him and not others will ruffle some dove feathers. This life walk will upset some “tables” in your personal, financial or emotional daily life.

It isn’t fair that we have to work harder than we already are.

I promise you that when you commit to challenging yourself to rise up to what you were created to be, a beautiful reflection of the most perfect love ever created, it will not be easy, but oh my friend it will be worth it.

I committed to it years ago and haven’t got it right yet, however, I open my eyes every morning thanking Him for another chance to do it better and asking Him to walk it with me. I embrace Holy Week for the challenge that it brings and for the joy waiting at the end of it, and of the walk.

Wishing you peace,
Terri

Terri O’Neill-Borders

Email- terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Website- www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Wordpress- https://hopeandfriendshipfoundation.wordpress.com/

Hope and Friendship Foundation
721 Hickory St, Lemont, IL  60439
630-816-4972

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 31: 8-9