With Christmas nearing, we are reminded of the spirit of generosity and gratitude. I’m Canadian and for me, it always starts with the first snow fall. Snow covers the Earth in white billows as huge flakes drift down from Heaven like confetti in a breeze.
I love how the snow wraps everything in a blanket of soft acceptance. How it creates a dazzling face on a dark Earth. How it refuses to distinguish between artificial and natural. It covers everything—decorated house, shabby old car, willowy trees, manicured lawn—beneath its white mantle. I love how it quiets the Earth. Have you ever gone for a walk in the fresh snow? Boots crunching… snow glistening in the moonlight…
Snow is magic. It reveals as it cloaks. Animals leave their telltale tracks behind their silent sleuthings.
Snow is playful. It beckons you to stick out your tongue and taste the clouds. Snow is like an unruly child. Snow is the trickster. It stirs things up. Makes a mess. It is the herald of change, invigorating, fresh and wondrous. Cars skid in it and squeal with objection. Grumpy drivers honk their horns, impatient to get home; while others sigh in their angry wake. Boys (of all ages) venture outside, mischief glinting in their eyes, and throw snowballs. Others, fearful of the chaos and confusion that snow brings, hide indoors out of the cold.
Snow is Christmas. It brings out the best and the worst in people. The Christmas season—whether you are a Christian celebrating the birth of Jesus or of another faith celebrating the season of Joy and Giving—provides each of us with the opportunity to be exactly who we are and who we are meant to be. It is a time to be genuine. A time to be sincere. A time to be REAL. A time to make the best of our lot and be thankful: whether we are celebrating a turkey feast with a family we don’t get along with, alone in a new town, or working the night shift in a busy firm. It is a time to be thankful for the gifts we have been blessed with, even the hardships. Especially the hardships. For they are ours to carry. Ours to make into something wonderful.
Inspiring Hope: One Story at a Time is filled with stories that will improve anyone’s day. This anthology of 75 stories by 42 writers from around the world, including yours truly, was birthed into existence by Gary Doi, a former school superintendent from British Columbia. It started with a blog and culminated, after a year into a stimulating anthology of 75 bite-sized stories focused on the eternal question: What gives you hope? The stories are as varied and compelling as life itself. They stir the imagination, ignite your courage and invite reflection. They speak to your inner voice. They inspire hope.
“Officially this is a global launch,” Doi said. “We have 42 authors from around the world. Each has a network of supporters and ways to celebrate the launch. This book is also a charity project as all net proceeds will be donated to a school community library in Guatemala.” Doi stated that Miguel Asturias Academy is a private, non-profit, Pre K-12 school serving vulnerable students in Xela, Guatemala.
Examples from the book include a California mother who shares her heartfelt story about raising an autistic child and how that experience brought fulfillment, love and gratitude. A teacher in Dubai describes how her bucket-list adventures opened up fascinating opportunities to learn and discover. A retirement coach from the United Kingdom explores a common question facing retirees: What will you do with the rest of your life? And, a university professor writes about the heroic efforts of a sixteen-year-old student in Tokyo who mobilizes community members to raise funds for a small fishing village affected by the Tohoku Earthquake disaster.
“This anthology lives up to its title.”–Roy Henry Vickers, BC Artist
“A testament to the human spirit.”–Hugh Gloster, Central Okanagan School
“Authentic and compelling.”–Janice Bobroske, executive regional director, Follett International
“Read and be uplifted…”–Alan J. McCormack, Professor Emeritus, San Diego State University
I invite you to bring hope to others by purchasing this anthology for someone at Christmas. It’s what I’ve done.
Inspiring Hope: One Story at a Time is available for sale on Amazon.com (ca/uk). Plans are also underway for a second charity book in the series (Inspiring Hope: One Image at a Time) which will feature inspirational photographs and artwork from around the world.