Finding Love In A Hopeless Place – by Ruth Valerio

The Valerio Family

Ruth with her husband Greg and their two children

This morning’s post is by Ruth Valerio Community activist, Christian, academic, eco-warrior, mum, author, veg grower, wife and pig keeper rolled into one. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Chichester, England, where she is part of Revelation Church, leading a cell group and preaching regularly. She runs A Rocha’s Living Lightly initiative. Is part of the leadership of Spring Harvest and Director of Cred Jewellery.

She has written extensively on justice, environment and lifestyle issues, as well as writing Bible study guides for Scripture Union and CWR. Concerned to ‘practice what she preaches’, she has an allotment, runs a food cooperative and runs a pig-keeping social enterprise with friends. She is also very involved with Transition Chichester and runs the Chichester Garden Share scheme. She writes a regular column in Families First magazine, as well as writing for magazines such as Christianity and Third Way.

As we move towards the beginning of Advent I felt that it very appropriately challenged us to think about how we need to prepare to be God’s compassionate people in the turbulent future we face.

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Rihanna might seem a bit incongruous on a blog to do primarily with issues around faith and the environment.  My time at the Lausanne Consultation on Creation Care, though, has provoked a lot of reflection on my part and left me mulling over some things, and as I’ve done so, we found love in a hopeless place, has been acting like a constant theme tune, going round and round my head. I want to try to give expression to something in particular here, and I would love you to help us develop this further together. Let me try to explain.

At present there is an ongoing debate within the environmental/scientific fraternity around the two concepts of mitigation and adaptation and which should take priority in terms of effort and investment. Mitigation represents those who say, ‘we’ve got to fight to see climate change reduced as much as possible; we’ve got to work to reduce emissions, to force or persuade business and governments to take action. We cannot allow it to be business as usual: we’ve got to put our efforts into bringing about change’. Adaptation, on the other hand, represents those who say, ‘that’s all very well, but we have to face facts and recognise that climate change is here and it is only going to accelerate, so we have to put our efforts into helping poorer countries (and ourselves) adapt to this new situation’.

Of course, I’m painting too simplistic a situation and most people would recognise that we need to be doing both. Still, mitigation and adaptation represent two differing approaches to the massive and awful challenges that face us, both now and into the future, and they provide a tension. Listening to the sessions at the Lausanne Consultation, I realise that this same tension is present analogously as we develop Biblical theologies of wider creation care.

Much of what we’ve been about so far has been to do with mitigation. Akin to business and government, the Church worldwide has failed abysmally to recognise the place that wider creation care should occupy in its life and understanding, preferring instead to focus only on individual human beings and their society. The Biblical understanding that many of us have been developing, therefore, has been concentrated on persuading Christians and churches that wider creation care is a central part of what the Christian life is about: that God loves this world and deems it ‘very good’, that he created us to look after it with compassion and servitude; that it has gone wrong because of us, and that the world and all its inhabitants are part of God’s plans for the future, rather than the future being about an exclusively human existence in heaven.

Whilst the Church in the UK has pretty much got this now, the Lausanne Consultation has opened my eyes to how far behind us the rest of the worldwide Church is, with some pretty shocking stories coming from some of the participants about their national churches. Our Biblical approach so far has, in effect, being saying, ‘Wake up Church! This issues is serious and it is something Christians should care about and be actively involved with’.

But is this enough? I am increasingly feeling that, while we still need the ‘mitigation’ approach, we increasingly need to develop the ‘adaptation’ side too. Bill McKibben’s article for Rolling Stones magazine back in July made for truly terrifying reading and was like a bucket of cold water after a beautiful dream. Business, Government, individuals (and the Church) are in an oil-induced coma and the likelihood of them waking up and taking the real action we need is becoming increasingly slimmer. The future looks very bleak indeed.

The question I’m struggling with is, how will we deal with this new situation as Christians? I am writing this not long after Hurricane Sandy left around 200 people dead and millions with their lives turned upside down. As the years go by, such situations of devastation and turmoil will become increasingly ‘normal’. Just consider one example: the Andes glaciers in South America. They are the water source for millions and millions of people, but are disappearing rapidly. What will happen in Peru or Argentina when they disappear altogether? We will face the decimation of countless numbers of people and other species. How will we cope with such a thing: what will it mean to be a follower of Jesus in such a situation?

Alongside the important message of our ‘theologies of mitigation’, we need also to be developing ‘theologies of adaptation’ that acknowledge the horrors of the future we will face – and that many are already facing – and that provide us with resources that help us live faithfully as followers of The Way in such times. Our task will be to discover how to find love in a hopeless place.

As an example of what this might look like, I felt prompted to read through Micah whilst at the Lausanne Consultation and was struck when I realised the context for the well-loved verse of 6:8. It comes in the midst of a damning tirade from Yahweh against his people, particularly the leaders, set against the back-drop of a court scene, in which the created order form the jury: ‘Stand up, plead your case before the mountains; let the hills hear what you have to say. Hear, O mountains, Yahweh’s accusation; listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth’ (6:1). Yahweh is calling his people back to repentance and to a life lived according to ‘his ways’ (4:2) and how does he want that to happen? Not through sacrifices and religious worship, but through a life that acts justly, and loves mercy, and walks humbly with him (6:8).

What will it mean to do that in a hopeless place, in our context of a world and people in crisis? That’s the kind of theology I think we need to be exploring.

 

Going Through Transition – Help from Walter Brueggemann

A journey into newness

A journey into newness

Tom and I have just returned from one of our quarterly retreats. These usually focus on our personal lives and the direction we sense God is nudging us into for the next three months. This time however I was focused on the transitions we are going through at Mustard Seed Associates. We are seeking to discern what MSA will become in the future, with new leadership at the helm. During the retreat I skimmed through three very helpful books which I will share about over the next few days.

The first of these was Walter Brueggemann’The Prophetic ImaginationBrueggemann has played a major role in shaping my theology in the past and I can that he will in this transition too. Though this is not a book about how to transition a ministry to new leadership, it certainly has a lot to say that can help in a situation like this.

MSA has always been a prophetic organization, challenging followers of Jesus to consider how the world is changing and how we as God’s people need to change to be more effective in the future. At its centre is a vision of hope, the belief that God’s kingdom of shalom is not only possible but is already breaking into our world and God calls us to be a part of that. We have always done a broad array of ministries – from Tom’s and my speaking and writing to networking and consulting and it is easy for us to look at the future and say – who can we find that can take over these tasks? It is easy for us to look at what we have done and attach the word forever.

As I read through Prophetic Imagination I realized that this will never move us into God’s future. The forever language is the language of kings and rulers who want to maintain the status quo. MSA has always been a prophetic organization and to continue to be prophetic we must be willing to let go of what has been and embrace the possibility of newness. Newness is only possible when we have the freedom to hope for something different and to allow for the possibility that everything can and should change.The question Brueggemann raised that really challenged me is: How can we have enough freedom to imagine and articulate a real historical newness in our situation? (44). Maybe beyond that, how can we allow others to have the freedom to imagine and articulate something that is totally new? Brueggemann goes on to say: The prophet does not ask if the vision can be implemented, for questions of implementation are of no consequence until the vision can be imagined.  At this point we are not wanting to ask the questions – how can we manage change – that could stifle any possibility of something new. Our question is What is God’s vision of newness for us as an organization?

The prophet offers symbols of hope for a new future. Change and newness do not spring into being in a void however. It is not accomplished by discarding all the symbols and accomplishments from the past, but rather it means to move back into the deepest memories of the community and activate those very symbols that have always been the basis for contradicting the regnant consciousness (66). Israel stood agains the regnant consciousness of the Pharaoh in order to bring a new reality into being because they believed in God’s promise to Abraham that this alternative reality was both possible and desired by God.

So my question for us at MSA is what are the “deep memories”, the DNA of our organization that God would draw us back to? Interestingly as I thought about this none of what we do came to mind. It is not our activities but our beliefs and our passions that make it possible to face a future of newness.

Here is my sense of what that is, though I realize this is not something that can be defined without the discernment of the MSA team, Board and even the broader MSA community.

  1. From Biblical hope to new design: the core of MSA is its desire to articulate and bring into being something of God’s kingdom dream of a world made new where justice does come for the poor, healing for the sick and wholeness for all creation.
  2. A spiritually discerning community that seeks together to discern the will of God for us as an organization and the implement it. Ministry flows out of spiritual discernment in community not out of “what we do well”.
  3. A questioning organization (or should I use the word prophetic) that calls others to question the status quo of the secular culture and inspires them to create new models of life and faith that flesh out something of what they hope God’s kingdom will look like. It is only when we question that our imaginations can be stirred and newness can come.
  4. We are an organic organization and see planning as a fluid process that flows out of our spiritual discernment and constantly allows us to be reshaped by the ways God speaks to us as a community.
  5. Praxis and academia are both important to us. We don’t just want to talk about change, we want to be a part of it, allowing it to shape who we are so that we can move along the journey towards becoming the people God wants us to be.

I wold love to hear your thoughts on this. Some of you have travelled with us in MSA for a long time. Others have recently joined the journey. What is it that inspires and ignites your passion? As we move into the future we want to make sure that we listen to all the voices through whom God would speak to us. We want to make sure that allow for all the newness that God wants to give birth to.

Turbulent Times are Here to Stay – Believe in the Future

Shalom and the Wholeness of God

In the last few years economic turmoil, natural disasters and an ongoing wave of war, conflict and uncertainty have shattered our confidence in the future.  Many of us laughed at the end times gurus who thought that the world would end on May 21st but if we are honest, deep within us was an uncertainty about the future that made us wonder if they could be right.

What we believe about the future toward which God is leading us will greatly impact our ability to both prepare for the future here on earth and participate in God’s redeeming activity.  For most of us the future we dream of is shaped, consciously or unconsciously, by a culture that tells us success and prosperity will follow us all the days of our lives.

Tough economic times and natural disasters have brought that dream into question but have not replaced it with a compelling and gratifying new vision.  Proverbs 29:18 tells us that without a vision the people perish, and I think it is true.  Not only are we in danger of perishing, but many others in our world are already perishing because of our limited understanding of the future and particularly of a vision of world made new in which all are provided for that God wants us to be a part of.

What we need more than anything else to prepare us for the future is a new and compelling vision of God’s shalom world that resounds in our hearts and reverberates out in our actions throughout the world.  If Christianity is to be a vibrant and life giving part of the future of our world, its vision of a new world of wholeness and abundance must become the place of security from which we explore and understand all of life.  And at the centre of that vision must be a vision of a God of love whose heart aches for the brokenness of our lives and the devastation of our hurting world.

This, as many of you know this has become the central passion of my life and is the central theme of my bookShalom and the Wholeness of God.    And I think that this vision which is so central to the gospel message cannot be stated too often.  Our vision of the future needs to be communicated as though it were the current reality otherwise it never has a hope of coming into being.   We need to be constantly reminded that the call of God’s kingdom for all disciples of Christ is to bring the wholeness and abundance of life promised in God’s shalom vision, into the lives of all human beings and indeed into all aspects of God’s world.

It was this kind of “abundant life” which Christ lived and demonstrated through all his actions.  It is also demonstrated through the lives of the early disciples and their call to be a countercultural community representing God’s Kingdom purposes to the world.  This vision culminates in the wonderful imagery of the Revelation of John where we are again given a vision of a world in which shalom is fully present – a world in which all things are restored and reconciled through Christ.

Our journey toward the shalom of God must include our own personal turning toward God when we kneel at the foot of the Cross, seek forgiveness for our sins and give our lives to be followers of Christ.  This however is not a single experience that brings us instantaneously into the ways of God.  Self-centredness does not automatically disappear when we become followers of Christ.  Educating ourselves into God’s perspectives really does take a lifetime.   It involves a deliberate effort to lay down our self centred lives daily, confront our brokenness and make active decisions to embrace God’s ways.  Only then can we walk with Christ into the freedom of a life lived for the good of all not just for ourselves.

Our vision of the future should be one in which we see ourselves as  instruments of God’s shalom world, growing into wholeness in our individual lives and reaching our with compassion and love that brings that same wholeness into the lives of others.

We gain hope and inspiration whenever we catch glimpses of God’s shalom world breaking into ours.  And there are so many of these glimpses in our world today.  We see them as strangers reach out to help those whose lives have been devastated by disaster.  We see them as people give up the hope of personal wealth and prestige to share their resources through local networks and small business creation.  And we see them in every fight for justice and freedom that are going on all over our world.

I love God’s vision for the future because it is the only one that gives hope and provides stability in the midst of an uncertain and insecure world.

 

We Can All Make a Mustard Seed Difference

This is a great story – shows how all of us have the potential to change the world

When Kellogg’s announced this week that it is moving to limit the deforestation caused by the palm oil it uses to make Frosted Flakes, Keebler cookies, Rice Krispies, and Girl Scout cookies, it represented an enormous achievement for two 15-year-old girls from Michigan.  Read the entire story

Work in the Spirit – Becoming the Change our World Needs

As many of you know the MSA has spent the last two days in planning meetings working towards a three year strategic plan.  I wrote yesterday that one of our challenges has been that the usual strategic planning methods do not apply to an organization like ours.  As we have grappled with that I realize that the challenge is bigger than that.  Our real challenge is that the ways of God and the ways of the world are really meant to be very different when it comes to our work.

First our goals are meant to be different.  Whereas the bottom line for a secular business is its economic profitability, I believe that the bottom line for Christian ministries and businesses is how well do we model and enable others to grow into God’s kingdom ways.  In his helpful book Work in the Spirit, Miroslav Volf comments:

Human work properly understood theologically is related to the goal of all history, which will bring God, human beings and the nonhuman creation into ‘shalomic’ harmony.

Often our most effective work from God’s perspective brings no economic profit, in fact it may do the exact opposite as when we work for justice amongst the poor and the marginalized who are penniless.  And work in this context cannot be isolated from the rest of life.  We are recognizing this more and more in the ways we work here at MSA.  Our spiritual disciplines, our personal joys and struggles, our financial challenges and provisions, our health and physical fitness all impact the ways we work. So we need to take all of these into account as we discern together, plan and work towards God’s shalomic harmony.  Our work is a part of our lives that is meant to be interwoven through all else we are and do.

Second, our way of working is meant to be different.  In his book Whole Life Transformation, Keith Meyer talks about the fact that churches should have spiritual formation at the centre.  I believe Christian ministries and business should too.  I am more and more convinced that one of the important roles of a Christian leader is akin to that of a spiritual director.  Spiritual direction is a contemplative practice in which we help others look and listen for the mystery of God in all of life, and enable them to respond to that discovery in a growing relationship of freedom and commitment.

Even in the secular business world there is a growing recognition that effective leadership is not meant to be a hierarchical authoritarian position.  There is a growing understanding of leadership as a process in which we mobilize others around a shared vision and work together for societal and personal change in a way that meets people’s enduring needs.  From a Christian perspective, leaders are servants, those who encourage, nurture and enable others to become all that God intends them to be and in the process we often discover who God intends us to be as well.

This form of leadership frees Christian leaders from the need to know everything and be everything to their co workers.  It also hopefully frees us from feelings of superiority and prestige.  It frees us to recognize that we are merely part of a community in which God can speak through any and all members.  This also places tremendous responsibility on us as leaders to nurture and grow our own spiritual lives.  We cannot be effective Christian leaders if we do not have good spiritual disciplines, or if we are not open with others about our struggles and shortcomings.  We grow together as a community not as isolated individuals.

Keith Meyer encourages the development of a corporate rule of life in which together as a community we develop guidelines and practices that grow both their individual and corporate spiritual maturity.  Here at MSA the Quaker discernment process has enabled us to accomplish that.  It takes our focus away from us as the ones who accomplish the work to God.  It enables us to relax because we are more aware of the fact that God is in control.  Every success or failure becomes an opportunity to listen to God and learn from God.

It is not surprising therefore that we have become a very organic organization, more a community of like minded believers who God has brought together to accomplish common goals.  We truly are aware that in sharing our dreams together and listening to God together we are all empowered to co-create with God.  And it is my hope that as we do so others will be enabled to become co-creators with God too.

As a result we all left our planning meetings yesterday inspired, energized and excited about the future.  It was not anything I as the executive director of MSA said or did.  It was more the sense that in our place of planning we had been in the presence of God.  And as we listened to God speak through other members of the team, through the changes and challenges of our society and through the serendipitous encounters and activities that have come our way we became more aware that God is leading us together towards something that bears the fingerprints of God.

What has become clearer for us is that MSA is becoming a birthing centre that reflects something of God’s loving purposes for our world.  As we see our world changing at lightning speed, we want to use our imaginations, and encourage others to use theirs, to develop new ways to live, serve and celebrate into the future that God is bringing into being.

We can easily feel threatened by the changes occurring in our world, which usually results in insecurity, anger and violence.  Or we see these changes as a design opportunity to work together with our Creator God to bring glimpses of God’s shalom eternal world into existence.

Organic Strategic Planning – A Wave of the Future

The Mustard Seed Associates team is in the midst of an important time of strategic planning.  At first I struggled even with the concept of strategic planning.  Not only are we a very organic organization, but we are also futures focused.  We constantly monitor emerging trends and challenges in society and church and use those to help us reinvent what we do.  It is our desire to provide resources, share examples and model lifestyles that help followers of Christ birth imaginative responses that reflect God’s kingdom in light of these future challenges.  That means though that what we do this year may look very different from what we did last year and planning activities ahead for the next three years seems almost impossible.

Much to my delight MSA team member Cindy Todd came across several articles that talk about organic strategic planning, a model that most closely fits who we are and how we operate.  This article:  Overview of Strategic Planning Methods provides a great overview to the different types of strategic planning.  In talking about organic strategic planning the author comments that it requires: continual reference to common values, dialoguing around these values, and continued shared reflection around the systems current processes. It reminded us that this is a process that focuses more on learning than on method and that to accomplish this we must regularly remind ourselves of our common vision and desires.  An organic strategic plan is constantly growing and developing .  We need to be very patient, regularly revisiting and reshaping our plan.

The best article Cindy came across is Organic Strategic Planning: Changing The Traditional Paradigm which explains that: The organic method works because it focuses on building the future on current successes.

Organic Strategic Planning is a unique approach to company growth. It changes the traditional strategic planning paradigms by focusing on identifying the best practices, processes, and methodologies in an organization. Organic Strategic Planning retains and expands on what is already working by employing a filter created from the organization’s values, mission, and vision…. The Organic Method for Strategic Planning brings together the essence of the best of the current organization, adds its dreams for the future, provides for a team-centered, co-creation of goals and objectives, and provides a framework for sustaining the growth of the organization.

For us in MSA this process through the use of the Quaker discernment process, has transformed the “find and fix” mentality into a God inspired focus on our desires and vision for the future. Like our weekly team meetings, our strategic planning revolves around our use of this process.  We started by looked back over the last year and forward to our expectations for the future, then asked the question Where is God moving and what is God saying?

Our growing awareness of God’s interaction with us in our daily activities has inspired us and connected us more intimately to the God who creates and enlivens all things.  Part of what we have realized is that it is not just our dreams for the future of MSA that play into this process.  Our dreams and hopes for our personal lives, our families and our society are all part of what helps to shape who we are as an organization.

This feeds well into the next suggested step:

Build on Past Successes. Organic Strategic Planning is based on the premise that past and present corporate and individual successes contain the “seeds” needed for the next level of successful growth and expansion.  The discernment process we use interprets this more broadly.  We don’t just build on the seeds of “success” but our struggles and our challenges are also drawn on as seeds for the future.

Engage the Entire Team: This is an important part of the Quaker discernment process which affirms and encourages all of us to recognize that God speaks through every member of a team and we need to make sure that we make time and make space for this. Listening and learning rather than telling and instructing becomes the focus of our planning times.  In the process we have learned to more fully appreciate, affirm and support each other.  We have seen relationships strengthen and creativity flourish in amazing ways.

Add the Essence of Passion: Discovering each team member’s passions and motivations is a key element of organic strategic planning.  What has amazed me is to see how the process we use encourages this naturally.

Create a Destiny Driven Future:  Again let me quote from Valerie Schmidt’s article:

By sharing each others’ dreams for the future of MSA we are empowered to co-create a meaningful set of goals.  Strategic goals created in this type of positive focused environment produce inspiring objectives and solutions that integrate easily into the day-to-day task of implementation. As everyone begins to truly understand the strategic plan, decisions and actions combine and complement each other naturally. New products, solutions, and ideas flow easily. This is natural propulsion for the organization.

I am excited by this new understanding of strategic planning and by the opportunities it provides for us in MSA to move forward strategically without compromising our values or our vision.  And need I say, I do think that this form of strategic planning has more potential to carry us into the future than any other form we have come across.

 

What is the Future of the Family?

The MSA September Seed Sampler is out.  This month’s title is The Future of the Family. There are some great articles which you can link to directly below

Related

Cultural Trends Impacting Church Leadership

This morning I read with interest this article on Three Cultural Trends Impacting Church Leadership. The trends identified are

  1. Influence in, power out
  2. Creativity in, corporate out
  3. Networking in, email out

Since creativity and networking are core values for Mustard Seed Associates, I was delighted to see this list and very much appreciated the article.  I am constantly looking for help in understanding how and where the spirit of God is moving and I find information like this is very helpful to reflect on in that process.

However I also struggled with the article partly because it seemed to focus on how we do things rather than what we do.  I would also love to see some discussion on the good and bad of these trends.  It seems to me there is a tendency to allow the culture to shape us a church leaders rather than expecting that we can shape the culture.

There is also a whole other dimension to trends impacting leadership that I think we need to consider too.  I have blogged about this in the past:

But there are other trends too that we need to think about:

  1. Wise stewardship in big budget spending out: Economic recession and concern about climate change are making many churches rethink the way they steward their money and how they use their church property.  I have already mentioned on several occasions the amazing rise of church related  community gardens and the number of churches that are increasing their green fingerprint – changing to CFL lights, cutting back the air conditioning and heat, often because they are recognizing that going green saves money but sometimes just because they realize that saving the planet is as much of a concern as saving souls.  And because young people are on the whole very concerned about the environment this will I think be a growing trend in churches that we need to nurture and affirm
  2. Spirituality in, church going out: I find a growing number of followers of Jesus who like Anne Rice are disconnecting from the church though they are not disconnecting from Jesus.  They are looking for a faith that connects to their everyday life and that interweaves with their daily activities rather than a Sunday go to church faith in a place where they are disillusioned by bickering about theology, power plays amongst leaders and hyped up performance based worship.
  3. Kingdom of God living in, cultural accommodation out. This one might be a little bit of wishful thinking on my part, but I do feel that there is more of a trend towards transformed lives that are active in kingdom focused ways rather than a privatized faith that goes about life as usual.

So what do you think?  What do you see as the major cultural trends impacting church leadership and how should we be responding to these?

What is Emerging in our Culture?

Yesterday I participated in a synchroblog on What is Emerging? referring to the emerging church movement and the changes we see happening in our churches and faith communities.  It was obvious that many of us continue to grapple with these issues.  For some they are never far from our thoughts.

This discussion raised other questions for me that I think most of us spend less time thinking about.  They are questions that are central to who we are and what we do at MSA – How is our culture is changing and how we as God’s people will continue to need to change in the future to be more effective followers of Christ.

Some of the changes coming at us are scary – especially the rapid changes in social media that we talked about in the last MSA Seed Sampler on technology and social media and its implications for the future.  And in light of that I wanted to share a recent MSA blog post by Matt Stone in Australia.  He blogs at Glocal Christianity

…do we as Christians see a role for ourselves in the emerging ethical conversations prompted by these new technologies and cultural shifts? Do we seek to have a leading role or a lagging role? Can we imagine some constructive applications, particularly with respect to this social networking technology? Or do we just follow the ways of the world? If we are as into relational community as we say, can we envisage how social networking technologies could be used for good? And can we anticipate some of the pitfalls before we fall into them? 2020 isn’t that far off.  Read the entire article

Matt is one of the most thoughtful and challenging bloggers I follow regularly.  He has also just posted another thought provoking article entitled What Can Google Trends Tell Us About Ourselves

I was scanning Google trends this week and I was noticing a curious trend across many keywords associated with religion.  Read the entire article

Building A Dream for the Future

Tonight we are hosting a brainstorming session.  We are building a futures’ watch group and dreaming about how we can equip followers of Jesus to imagine new ways to be a difference and make a difference in God’s world.  We don’t just want to help people come up with ideas about how to live into the future of God, we want to enable them to launch their new models.

Two scriptures came to mind as I was praying for our meeting – both of them very encouraging as we imagine the future that God is moving us towards:

Proverbs 24: 14 Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

Jeremiah 29: 11 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.

On a lighter note – Not surprisingly this video also came to mind as we were planning this afternoon.  I realize that many of you have already seen it but I think it is one of those videos that is always worth another look it is so inspiring even if it is just an add.