Thursday, June 30, 2011

You can't go back

The Webster's Dictionary defines the word anniversary as: The date for celebrating when an important event happened. A date when you celebrate something that happened in a previous year that is important to you.

So I ask, how do you "celebrate" the anniversary of a suicide? How does the word anniversary even fits in this situation if it means to honor a special occasion? As you can tell I'm having a hard time with this concept.

In group this pass Monday it was suggested "to rejoice in the marked date that your loved one entered heaven." To observe the day almost like a birthday of your loved one being with God.

For many, today is their one year. My heart goes out to these families. I pray for you moments of sweet-tenderness as you shed tears and moments of laugher as you share stories.

So how should you celebrate the anniversary of a loved one's passing? There is no right or wrong way. Do what feels natural, even if that means feeling sad and overwhelmed with grief–right now. Maybe a celebration IS what you want. Serve their favorite food and do something they loved. Gather your family and tell all those great-funny stories. Maybe you wish to be alone with yourself. You could write them a letter or create a memory box. I even have a friend that works on the date her brother passed away. She prefers to celebrate his birthday, they share the same one. Whatever you decide for your day please remember that grief takes time. Lots of time and that it's different for every person.

I have this book that I've been trying to complete for awhile now. My friends and family have heard me refer to it as "the stupid book". I call it that because it has put many things into perspective for me, some hard realities. There really isn't anything stupid about the book, quit the opposite.

Finding Your Way after the Suicide of Someone You Love.
By David B. Biebel, DMin, & Suzanne L. Foster, MA
~You can't go back. The suicide of your loved one changed everything. But you may wonder, will it always be this way? Will it ever be possible to do more than just barely survive each day? Will I ever laugh again, be happy- really live again? Possibly not. Some people get stuck in their grief, so their epitaph reads, Died at 50; buried at 70. (rough, I told you it was)
~But this epitaph is not inevitable for survivors of suicide. You can move forward. We're not going to burden you with false expectations. We won't use terms like "victors versus victims" or other trite phrases that imply that if you have the right kind of faith, or courage, or resilience, or whatever, you should be able to rise above this trial and somehow leave it all behind.
~As you survive, you move with your grief, through it, and beyond it, even to the point of learning to use the lessons you've learned and the character you've gained to help others who are on a similar path. You cannot make this happen in your own strength. To be real and effective, this must be a work of God, who is more powerful than anything the Evil One can bring or has brought your way. God is able to align even the most dreadful tragedy with his primary purpose, which is redemption.
~Grieving's timetable is as individual as you are. You can't "hurry up and get over it," nor can others push or pull you through it. And just as you have your own unique timetable for grief, you will have your own timetable for coming out of grief. You will know when you are ready to move on. Embrace your "new normal."

For myself and my family it will be six months without Adam on Friday. The day will come and end like all the rest. But I still wake every morning having to learn all over again that he is gone and it wasn't just a bad dream.

Our prayer for this week is give us insight this day, Lord our God, to understand Your ways, and consecrate our hearts to reverence You. From our sins redeem us with forgiveness; from pain and sorrow give us spiritual insight. Let us rejoice in the understanding of our redemption. Blessed is the Lord who beckons us to prayer. ~Amen

Sara Lester
Wings of Hope

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Tonight, I was sitting by the pool watching the kids swim.  My niece said to my sister, "Mom, I want a new sister.  Kenna's mean."  Oh to be 3 years old and believe that if someone ticks you off, you can simply trade them in for a new or better version.  What if we could do this?  Would this make our lives better?  Would we be happier people if we didn't have to "deal" with those people that are mean, cruel, dishonest, or unfaithful?  I would like to say, "Yes, this would make me happier."  However, we all know we can't wave our magic wand and turn everyone into a prince or princess.

 I have the serenity prayer on a plaque in my house that I read everyday: 
"God, GRANT me the SERENTIY to accept the things I can NOT change,
the COURAGE to change the things I CAN,
and the WISDOM to know the difference."

I need to remind myself of this quite often.  I want to be able to snap my fingers and change others' attitudes, beliefs, behaviors etc.  However, I need to accept the fact that I can not do this.  I am only in charge of myself.  I can decide how I am going to behave each day, the attitude I am going to carry with me, and the reaction I am going to have to those "mean" people.  Have any of you ever thought that maybe it's not the OTHER person that needs to check their attitude or behavior, but maybe it's YOU. 

We are all such different people.  We are going to encounter people that we might not get along with, we may not like them, we may not even be able to tolerate them...however, YOU can make the CHOICE to embrace those around you...or let them fall. 

I encourage you all to 'check' your attitude...'check' your behavior...and 'check' your responses to those you encounter.  Are the people you meet on the street, walk past in the store, work with, and those you hang out with going to leave your encounter wanting to spend more time with you...or wishing they could "upgrade" you to something better. 

So, my hope for all of us is that we have the WISDOM to understand the things we can and cannot change...and remember that when we are pointing a finger at someone that we desperately want to "trade in"...there are three more fingers pointing back at us.  What changes do you need to make today?

Angie Rudningen

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

An Oldie, But a Goodie

My husband, Derek, and I recently had a conversation about a certain type of people. We call them "banana stealers".

"And just what, or who, rather, is a banana stealer?" you ask. Well, my loves, I shall tell you.

Simply put, a banana stealer is a person who knocks you down to put themselves up. You know the type.

Derek was trying to describe a certain someone's quest for power and, ultimately, a false sense of self, by saying that this person in question will steal your bananas so he always has more than everyone else. Derek said, "Its like this: he has 50 bananas and you have 50 bananas, and he wants more. So instead of going out and finding a way to acquire more bananas on his own, he just steals someone else's. He knocks ya down!"

Like I said, you know the type. We all have known at least one such unfortunate person in our lives that wants to steal your bananas instead of earning their own.

They critique without constructivism. They compare and compete. They belittle or degrade. They judge. They race with you, even if you aren't in the race. They steal your bananas so they can have "more".

Really, I have sympathy for the banana stealers. All that they are really looking for is a way to feel good about themselves. And who can blame them for that? Don't we ALL want to feel good about ourselves? The problem with the banana stealers, though, is that they make every attempt to feel better about themselves at the expense of others, and ultimately, themsevles.

Banana stealing really is a self-defeating behavior: it harms relationships. It harms the feelings of other people. It is superficial, fickle, and temporary. It really is an unfulfilling profession, but the behavior is maintained because it provides a short-lived feeling of satisfaction to the banana thieves.

"So how do we deal with banana thievery?" you ask. Well, my loves, I shall tell you what I do. I share my bananas willingly. I pay genuine compliments to the bananas of thieves, comrads, and strangers alike. I acknowledge one's effort to rightfully earn their own bananas. And lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I just don't take it personally.

I have lots and lots of bananas. And and so do you! Really, it is my belief that each one of us has a life that is ripe with bananas. Some of us just struggle to see them more clearly than others. So the next time that you come accross a banana stealer, don't be stingy. Show them compassion. Share the beauty of your life with them, and appreciate the beauty that you see in their's. Maybe even learn something from the way they experience your bananas and how they experience their's.

And finally, above all else, just don't take it personal.

Ellie Otteson
Wings of Hope

Monday, June 27, 2011

Happy Monday!

Time goes by so fast, people go in and out of your life. You must never miss the opportunity to tell these people how much they mean to you." ~ unknown.

Time often seems to slip through our hands, doesn't it? I often find that I don't tell the people I love and appreciate the most how much they mean to me. Instead of dreading Monday's as the start to another long work week, I encourage you to think of Monday's as a full seven days of opportunity to tell the ones you love how your feel.

So as summer seems to be slipping away from us, I want to take Monday's to post a list of some events Wings of Hope will be attending. We would love to see you there.

We are happy to announce that the Fountains of Hope will be running for the Fourth of July weekend! 

July 2nd, 2011:  Wings of Hope will be at the Spicer Street Dance!  We are still looking for up to 5 more volunteers to help with the second shift (10:30pm-midnight) at the main entrance.  Please contact us for more information!

July 4th, 2011, 10:00 a.m. Spicer's Grand Day Parade. Please join us as we celebrate the 4th of July in Spicer. Watch for our float in the parade!!

July 21st-24th, 2011. New London WaterDays. Please watch for upcoming details in the WaterDays event.

Thank you all for your support and look forward to seeing you.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

May I Have Your Attention, Please.

Before you read any further, ask yourself this question:  “What matters most to you?”

Now, read this: 

"At the funeral of a beloved rabbi, a younger man who had just recently begun his studies with the rabbi turned to one of those who had been a disciple for decades.  "What most mattered to our master?" the young man asked.  The older disciple smiled and answered, "Whomever he was with at the moment." 

…Consider this passage for just a moment.  Think about how it must have felt to be in the presence of someone like the beloved rabbi.  How special you would have felt, how important.  Consider for just a moment how precious it feels to know that you are loved.  That you, your life, is cherished by someone.  That you are not alone.  Take a second to revel in just how good it feels to receive attention from those you love. 

Think for a moment about the people in your life.  How might they feel when they are around you?  Do they feel like the most important person in the world when they are in your presence?  Do they experience the same security, peace, and heartwarming satisfaction that someone might have felt with the rabbi?  Do they feel like they matter to you?  That their well-being, their life, is important to you? And when they are not in your presence, do they still know that your heart goes out to them?  That you are really are there?  What if you learned that they feel like they are just a detail in the backdrop of your life?  That it is really you that matters most to you? 

How do you pay attention to those that matter in your life?

…To pay attention is to show that we care.  Really, it is the most basic expression of love that we can show other people.  Paying attention to someone shows that your hand is outreached to them.  That you want to touch their heart and soul, and that, in turn, you want to be touched by them.  Paying attention tells someone, “I care about you.  I love you.  You matter.” 

So what about when we have missed an opportunity to pay attention?  Does that mean that we have failed as lovers of people?  That we have let that person down?  No, it does not.  Rather, it means that you simply missed an opportunity, or did not take the chance, for whatever reason, to say, “I care about you.”  It does not mean that you did not care.   If you have ever missed such an opportunity, and we all have, it might serve you well to take another look inside of yourself, a different kind of look, and ask, “What is going on inside?  What has prevented me from paying attention?” 

If you are able to earnestly ask yourself this kind of question, I trust that you will also be able to find an answer.  And I trust that that answer will be enlightening for you. 

...No matter how you pay attention to people, I would like to encourage you to be especially mindful today.  Be mindful, my birds, of how you are showing love to people.  Be mindful of if you are showing love to people. 

Take an extra moment to reach out your hand.  Take just one moment to reach out your hand today and allow yourself to touch someone with your love.  Show someone just how important they really are to you.  How much you truly care.  Remind the people you love that you are here, that they are not alone, that they can do it. 

Pay attention today, and open your hearts.  Engage yourself with others, and allow yourself to be touched by their love.  If you are able to do this today, to become genuinely engaged with someone you care about, I think you will find that that person has become more alive to you. That you can see life through their eyes, not just your own.  And I think that if you pay sincere attention to people, like magic, they will become more real to you. 

…Pay attention today, my birds.  Reach out your hand and give someone your love.  Show your beloved birds what matters most to you today.  You never know the impact you just might have.

Ellie Otteson
Wings of HOpe


Friday, June 24, 2011 accidents. keeping it SHORT and SWEET. Happy Weekend!

If it's appeared on your life radar, this is why: 

to teach you that dreams come true; 
to reveal that you have the power to fix what's broken and heal what hurts; 
to catapult you beyond seeing with just your physical senses;
 and to lift the veils that have kept you from seeing that you're already the person you dreamed you'd become.

...and believe me, that was one heck of a dream.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Who Can Fly?

Any of us wanting to give back. Any of us hoping to share our lived and learned knowledge. Any of us looking for a second chance...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011 w/ Pastor Paul

~Is it true that “opportunity knocks but once”? – It may seem so.
Often a person waits in vain for a business opportunity to be repeated. How many have wished they had invested a few dollars in a certain business venture which later became a financial success! – A dollar invested in the beginning would be worth thousands today... but it’s too late, they tell themselves, to cash in on the opportunity now. Perhaps it is; but there are other business opportunities today just as promising to an investor if he is willing to take the risk.

One does not sit in a courtroom very long before he hears expressions of vain regrets; “I didn’t mean to do it.” or, “If I had only known what would happen, I would have acted differently.” Persons in trouble fondly wish they could undo the past and have a chance to live the time over again, but it is impossible to recapture those same opportunities. – They are gone forever.

He who wastes his opportunities must face the consequences. But there are always new opportunities by which, if we try, we may in some measure redeem the past.

Many folk have botched their lives but have arisen from their gloom, squared their shoulders, and gone out into the arena of life to try again. – And many who failed the first time have succeeded the second.

The same is true in spiritual matters. Some of the strongest, most fruitful Christians are people who failed God in earlier life but arose from defeat and, with God’s help, tried again. - Proverbs 24:16 says, “... for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.”

Any of us looking for a second chance? – Here it is... don’t miss it!~

I have lived up to this point in my life with so many little sayings... "I can do anything I put my mind to", "fail to plan and plan to fail" , "fake it until you make it". Up to January 1st, 2011, I had myself convinced I could handle anything life would hand me... I was completely wrong. My brother taking his own life was not only the end of his life but the end of my life as I knew it. Not only will I never have that relationship again but also the relationships I had with all the people in my life will never be the same. Some of the changes are not so good but most of the changes are beautiful. Slowly, with the help of God, my husband and so many wonderful friends I am adjusting to the new me. Our family will always have a missing link but what has been added to my life is the grace of God. I feel love in such a different way now and for that I am truly blessed. I will always long for the chance to go back and fix things... but I know now that I can help others as I move forward with MY life.

So Who Can 'Fly'? Any of us that dare to embrace one another. Any of us brave enough to try.

Our prayer for this week is that we celebrate Your greatness and faithfulness to us in making us partakers of Your Kingdom now and in all that is yet to occur. May we in good faith join together in prayer and faith, with excitement and expectation, as we grow in Your grace and love not only for ourselves, but for all mankind. We pray this in Your Name ~Amen.

Sara Lester

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Live each day...

I have spent the day thinking about what I am going to write about.  I came home and sat down at my kitchen table, looked up, and read a plaque that I have on my wall.  Is says, "Live as if each day was your last."  That's when I realized, I need to write about why I have ventured out on this journey with 'Wings of Hope.'

I have lived most of life suffering from depression.  I have been a victim of sexual abuse, eating disorders, and affairs.  I have lived a lot of my life in a very deep, dark place which lead to two different attempts to end my life.  I have three boys and I spent a lot of time laying on the couch and not joining in on activities with them and my husband.  Each day was a struggle to wake up, take a shower, and get dressed...let alone go to work and try to take care of my family and home.  I couldn't concentrate...I couldn't sleep...I avoided people I knew out in public because I didn't want to talk to anyone...I completely stopped LIVING.  This affected my personal life as well as my professional life.  In and out of therapy...on and off medications...I finally pulled myself together enough to realize that I was put here on this earth to LIVE my life...and I was NOT doing that. 

I had lost HOPE for my life...

I felt ALONE...

I felt as though I was the ONLY one who was feeling this way...

I kept SECRETS...


I was ANGRY...

I was SAD...

Then...I found HOPE!  Through counseling, praying, reading, talking to friends and family members, understanding mental health and depression, and finding out who I AM...I found HOPE!  After all my dark days...I learned a very important lesson.  I learned that there is NEVER a day that is too dark because of God's GRACE, LOVE, and HOPE he has for me.  I know I will have some dark days ahead...however, I also know that I will make it through those days!

Why 'Wings of Hope?' ----There are so many people out there that are struggling with self image, relationships, depression, anxiety, loss of hope, and feeling alone...but I want you all to know that there is HOPE for EVERYONE!  There are so many people that are willing and ready to help you through your dark just have to REACH OUT and let them take your hand.  It took me a long time to understand that...and believe that...but it is so TRUE!!  You are never alone...even in your darkest moments.  This has been a great experience for me as I begin this journey and spread HOPE, HEALING, and LOVE to our communities!

So, don't stop LIVING your life...EMBRACE each day...don't give up HOPE...and find your inner STRENGTH so you are in fact able to...
"LIVE each day as if it was your last"

'Each of us has but one wing, and we can only fly by EMBRACING one another'---reach out...hang on...and LIVE!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

This Too Shall Pass

My dad used to always say, “This too shall pass.”

He said it lightly, when my sister and I were frustrated with something.  He also said it when our hearts were heavy.  He said it quite often.  And he meant it.

Because of these words, I grew up believing that the only thing we can truly count on in this life is that things will change.  Clouds will overshadow our sun, at times, but they too shall pass.  Nothing in life ever stays the same.  I found comfort in knowing that, for better or worse, life will change.  It will stay in motion.  And we must do our best to evolve in light of the changes we encounter. 

But what about when something happens that may not “pass”?  What about when a life-changing event occurs and things will never quite be the same?  Perhaps a something unexpected happens, a life stage is completed or about to begin, a relationship has ended, or a loved one has died.  What do we do with the things in life that may “pass” but are life-changing in their very essence?

What do we do with the finality of such things?  Do we grieve, and mourn the loss of times gone past?  Do we let go of the life we had before in hopes of something better?  Do we hang on to what still remains, finding joy in the glimpses of what used to be?  Do we move on, when doing so seems impossible?  Do we reject what has happened, or accept what life has in store? Do we remain true to everything we know, or adopt new perspectives entirely?

Perhaps there may be no correct answers to these questions. Perhaps, if there are answers to these questions, they are different shades or right.  Maybe, regardless of how we adapt to life's events, we must remember that they are temporary in some way.  Perhaps, even when things seem so final, they too shall pass.  Because nothing in life ever remains just as it is.  Nothing stays the same. 

Some things simply never go away, nor will the impact that was made.  But the feelings surrounding them, the thoughts they inspire, the way we relate to such experiences will change as we do.  The pain will fade away.  Wounds will heal, and become cherished scars on our hearts.  We will find joy that we may not have known had such things not happened.  They shall pass in their own unique way, without ever entirely leaving us.

Even the life changes that cannot be undone, the changes that will leave a mark on our hearts and souls for the rest of our life, they too shall pass.  And they shall pass, because at some point, we will realize that we have allowed them to evolve just as we have.  They shall pass because were able to find the dawn at the end of the night.  Because we were able to change with our experiences and not be reduced by them.  Because we allowed those experiences to become a part of who we are, without being consumed by that experience. 

And so, my precious birds, remember these words, "This too shall pass".  Remember, when life seems to be crashing down all around you, that it is temporary in some very important way.  When you are surrounded by chaos, or crumbling to your knees, do not give up hope.  Know that morning will come, and the sun shall rise to a new day.  Believe that there will be peace.  That you will have your time to sing, to dance, to fly.


Ellie Otteson
Wings of Hope


Friday, June 17, 2011

...wading out into the deep.

first thing on my mind this morning was this blog post. 

the questions at hand: 

What does WINGS OF HOPE mean to me.  
Why does my journey on this earth now include WINGS?
8 hours later, i am still pondering the content of my heart - and how deep i want to go with that answer. 

i keep having this visual...
me. oceanside. standing alone on the beach.
the breeze on my skin, the smell of the front of me is a breathtaking sight of blue. 
an ocean so beautiful. so vast. so deep. and so filled with unknown.
our souls are like this. 

with this blog post...
i can venture in. ankle deep and stay very comfortable.
or i can decide to journey into the depths of my ocean - taking that risk of becoming vulnerable.
i am weighing the value of both at this very moment. 
do i give you the surface stuff - or journey into the abyss of the "unknown"?


so many reasons.....

WINGS: Reason #1
2011 started with heartbreak. 
on so many different levels.
there was sweet, surprising, heartfelt moments - bringing in the new year...
friends.laughter. love. 
shortly followed by unexplainable heart ache and grief.
 tragic loss. 
 i stood by -feeling the energy of sadness fill the spaces of so many lives.
hearts of friends that i LOVE so very dearly - being ripped apart. 
hearts. broken.
pain everywhere.
i knew there would be an opportunity to help....i just didn't know what to do at that time. 
nobody did or ever does know what exactly they can do when they watch people they love go through this kind of pain.
you want to offer them peace. 
LOVE does that.
HOPE does that.
the time just has to be right.
so you just be. 
like you always have been.
and pray. 


WINGS: Reason #2

early 2011...
personal struggle sets in.
to my surprise.
i started falling apart. 
BAD TIMING, i know. 
but who chooses this kind of thing? 
... much of my pain -  i had been successfully covering up.
i had guarded my heart for SO LONG.... and it all emerged. 
  took me deep inside. 
to the base of my being.
there i was.
me facing me.
i didn't even know where it was coming from specifically.
a lot of places, i guess.
i won't bore you with the details...
there was...
 unexpected "explosion of emotion" 
  it started to become very apparent to me - my heart - needed some serious repair. 
i felt stuck.
consumed by lack of direction.
YOU know how it is. 
that surprising moment when your act is up.
you have set aside one heart ache after the other for so long -  and simply entered into survival mode.

you don't allow yourself FEEL the pain.
 FEEL the loss.
 FEEL the hurt.
FEEL the disappointment.
FEEL the changes.
you don't allow anything negative...cover it up...move on...
put on a smile.
you just don't let them see you sad.
because...if you did....
it could be uncomfortable.
we don't want any of that, do we? 
i kept telling myself it would all go away.  
shield of heart armor. 
applied to heart.
 out of necessity.


one TELLING moment  -  you look in the mirror and break. 
enough of the strength. enough positive. enough trying to forget.  enough trying to remember.  enough excuses. enough convincing everyone around you that you are alright. enough of the perfect.  enough of the "big girl panties". enough blaming yourself.  enough of ALL of it.
more tears. 
more sad.
more depression.
just holding on by a thread.
i wanted to escape.
i was consumed with feeling sad. 
couldn't shake it.

at this point: - i am waist deep in my ocean of comfort.
....just so you know

Wings: Reason #3
i became so consumed with grief. 
going through the motions.
life became numb.

i was traveling in darkness.
day by day.
wondering if i could bring myself out. 
thinking that this time perhaps, i could not.
i KNEW better.
 knowing that i SHOULD know better.... made me feel even more distant and elusive and "unreal"
- i was so sad. 
two choices.
crumble completely or ask for help {which i REALLY stink at doing}
i opened up.
 reached out for help. 
and INSTANTLY - without hesitation - i was surrounded with angels.
{aka: friends/family}
i felt hands reach into my self consumed darkness.
these angels reached outside their OWN pain and lifted me up.
giving me their wing of strength.
adding to my own strength that THEY knew i had. 
it took time, and work, and persistence ...
light emerged.
my single wilted wing started to spread out in strength.
HOPE was given back to me.
LIFE was once again becoming a place that i really wanted to be.
when the light emerges LOVE & HOPE is so apparent.
JUST those two things make EVERYTHING worthwhile.

HOWEVER...some people don't emerge....
....and as my hope returned....others in this lifetime lost their HOPE.
our community was struck with the loss of one beautiful soul after the other.

we watched our community loom in shock.
we watched our children cry.
we watched wounds re-open.

time to do something.
time to reach into someone else's darkness.
time to use my WING to help another  that is struggling - - just  as my angels {aka: friends/family} had helped me. 
i can help.
i KNOW the darkness.
here is the beautiful thing...
i KNOW the light.


 Why be part of WINGS OF HOPE?
 here is "ankle" ocean depth answer......
simply. because i can.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Baton in Hand

Happy Thursday everyone! My name is Sara and I’m a proud member of Wings of Hope. I must admit that I am not a writer or a blogger. Although many of my friends and family would disagree, I don’t think I express my feelings very well. But I love challenging myself and have asked for the podium on this blog once a week, a very special honor to me. As time goes on, our members will be sharing in their own way what our new organization means to them, what we are all about, what we are up to and how all of you can join our efforts.

Today I’m sharing a part of the “what” Wings of Hope means to me. Like I said above, I’m not a writer, so I borrowed the following from an email I received from Pastor Paul. A very special friend of mine who emails me twice a week, I foresee sharing them with you often.

Sunday, May 8, 2011 w/ Pastor Paul

~Few track and field events are any more exciting than the relay race - four athletes giving their all for their assigned portion of the race, and then successfully passing the baton to the next runner. He runs alone until he comes to where the next runner is waiting. For a few brief steps they run alongside each other until the baton is safely passed, and then drops back, his race completed while the other must continue on. If the baton is not handed off properly within the allowed space or is dropped, the runners are disqualified.

The life of faith is like that. We each have our assigned portion of race to run, cheered on by those before us, and responsible to those awaiting us. The Apostle Paul seemed to love the metaphor of the runner. “Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that God has set before us” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

And parenting is like that also. A mother’s life is not lived for herself alone, but with an eye to the special lives of the children and families who will follow after her. She does not count herself to have succeeded until she has successfully “passed the baton” – until her children, and their children, have prospered.

She will run alongside of them for a season, but her ultimate goal is to convey something of herself to them – her experience, character, convictions, priorities, values, hopes, and faith – knowing they must run further than she can, and she wishes that they may do so with less pain and more pleasure than hers, with fewer struggles and more victories. She is not content with her accomplishments or comfort, until her children have successfully exceeded her.

A mother’s influence is immense, far greater than she may presume during her busy years of mothering, and such influence is not limited to her lifetime. The Godly impact of her life stretches across the lifetimes of those who felt her love, to those who saw her life, and ultimately to those who learned her faith.

The baton had landed in my hand and this is what Wings of Hope is to me. It is my aspiration, desire and my hope to influence, help and spread love to the people of our beautiful little community.

Our prayer for this week is that we will run with courage, confidence and with the heritage that has been offered. Generations, behind and ahead of us, depend on our doing so. ~Amen

Sara Lester
Wings of Hope

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I Have Wings

Wings: a means of flight or rapid progress; the act or manner of flying; to take flight; under one's protection or in one's care

Hope: to believe, desire, or trust; the feeling that events will turn out for the best

On April 6th 2011, just over a month ago, I wrote a blog post entitled It Is Time.  In this post, I shared a very intimate part of my personal story.  I told of my past struggle with mental health, eating disorders, mood disorders, recklessness, and suicidal behavior.  (Look for the post in my archives, if you would like to read more…)   

…When I wrote this particular post, I started by posing two important questions.  I asked my readers to ask themselves, “Do I want to learn, to become more aware of myself and the people around me?  Am I capable of making a positive difference in the world?” 

After asking these questions, I told my story and then shared what I had learned throughout this journey.  I stated that even in our most desperate moments, there is nothing on this earth that we cannot live through.  There are no circumstances from which we cannot learn.   There is nothing that we cannot be touched, strengthened, or transformed by.  I wrote that even while we there are some things that we may not be able to do alone, we certainly are capable of accomplishing great feats together, and together, we may do anything we dedicate ourselves to.  We must trust in ourselves, in our loved ones, and in our abilities.  And we must trust in the power of greater good.  And, finally, we must trust that we can make a difference in this lifetime.     

In the conclusion of this post I wrote, “It is time to make a difference...It is time to embrace life and encourage others to do the same.  It is time to reach out, to show compassion.  It is time to be brave, to tell your stories, and share your feelings.  It is time to make a positive impact in your life and the lives of others.”

…My courageous and compassionate birds, I am so pleased to tell you that is precisely what so many of us have done!  Just after writing this blog post, approximately 15 men and women from New London – Spicer have come together to make a positive impact on our community.  We have joined hands, coming together despite having a plan, or even a concrete idea of what we would like to do together.  However, we did have our dreams.  And more importantly, we have a passion for a cause, and we have hope for our community and it's future.

This hope that is shared by these 15 men and women is the foundation of the group named Wings of Hope.  As a group, we have the very simple goal of spreading our love and reaching out to others.  We are committed to creating positive change for our community, and we are enthusiastic about what we are doing.  And while we may be a rather young group, we are full of new and exciting ideas, and we are fully dedicated to realizing our goals and living out our mission.

"And just what is your mission?" you ask? Well, my darling birds, I shall tell you!  The mission of Wings of Hope is quite simple:  Our mission is to embrace people by joining hands and spreading our wings, offering hope, love, healing and kindness to our community. We will do this by volunteering, reaching out, and creating neighborhood relationships.

…So tonight, my hopeful birds, rather than asking you to do something, I would like to say thank you.  Thank you for following along with me.  Thank you for your continuous support.  Thank you for the faith that you have in me, in yourselves, and in our fellow birds.  Thank you for being brave enough to join hands and having the courage to spread your wings. 

And thank you, most of all, for trusting that you can make a difference.  Continue to bestow your gifts of hope, love, healing, and kindness on to others.  And continue to embrace one another so that together we may fly.


Ellie Otteson
Wings of Hope