Archives for November 2012

Graffiti: Scribbles from Different Sides of the Street

Bare walls in inner cities sent out invitations to graffiti “artists:”

“Use me to mark your territory!”

“Scribble on my face your thoughts and feelings! Mark your identity!”

“Paint your heart and let your story be seen!”

I first set eyes on graffiti when I came to Chicago many years ago. Back then, I found graffiti disturbing. It scared me. I understood it as rebellious disrespect for other people’s properties.

After a while, I grew more tolerant. At some point, I began to appreciate it. I was fascinated by the artists’ creativity, the colors and styles used.

 

 

Alene Snodgrass and her new book, Graffiti: Scribbles from Different Sides of the Street presented me with the opportunity to look at graffiti and see soul stories painted all over it.

It all started with Jeff Goins and the writers’ Tribe he formed. I met Alene there. I took her invitation to participate on her book’s launch team as a pebble thrown on my path, pointing to something I needed to learn.

What an honor and a privilege to work with her and the other team members!

What an amazing experience and education!

What a blessing witnessing new possibilities opening up, as Alene scribbles new visions and stirs the hearts of her readers!

Inspirations for inner growth!

Glances of a better world already in the making, if only we take “baby steps!”

 Graffiti, for such a small book has a big heart that brings hope, inspiration, and empowerment to a world of pain and despair!

Graffiti is wisdom, love, and inspiration that stems from Jesus teachings and God’s calling.

Graffiti challenges and compels the reader to be “different,” to cross boundaries, go beyond and above self to serve others.

 It’s the true story of two souls with one spirit…Two people inspired by the Spirit!

 

Alene walked out of the comforting world of the suburbs. Boldly and courageously she ventured into the life on the “other side of the street” where she encountered a homeless man, called Rick.

These two people began a journey together, empowering each other and those they came in contact with, either in physical life or through their writing.

The story unfolds through their different perspectives:  

Alene wrote the story of her heart, sharing her experience of fear, avoidance, and challenges before and after she ventured to such an uncomfortable zone. She encourages us:

“Even in the midst of your question, doubt, and struggle, God can still do miracles.”

Along with Alene, Rick scribbles his own down-to-earth stories and poems. He shows us his world through his moving words. His journey unfolds from the state of a perfect married life, to being blamed for a crime he did not commit, rejected by the world, and ending up on the streets.

 Among those streets, Rick found the one that took him back to God.

 The new day dawns only after the darkness of the night!

Even the worst hardships in life are held better with hope and faith!

The Sun of righteousness shines upon us in our darkest hours!

Maria’s Son sheds light on the path leading to God, gifting us with possibilities for inner growth and God’s wisdom!

Alene and Rick are different and unique people. They lived different and unique lives. They share different and unique stories.

Their stories draw the reader in.

Gifted by the Spirit, they encourage us that even “baby steps” “in obedience” will take us as where we need to be.

They appeal to us to “make a difference!”

Be brave. Be courageous. There is an incredible journey ahead for you as you head down a different street!”

 

“Embrace who you are and be different.”

 

They both have great intentions, despite their doubts! They don’t stop there! They commit to actions that spring from love for others and a better world!

They allow the Divine Master Artist to sculpt and paint their hearts, drastically changing them.

Together, hand in hand, they take “baby steps” in a “unique journey” changing their own lives and the lives of many others.

Graffiti is the perfect reading for this wonderful holiday of giving. If you haven’t already, Download it here. If you’ve read it, please leave a review on Amazon.

I devoured this book! I cried and smiled! I was envious of them both. They did what I have procrastinated doing:

They walked through the open door right into God’s inner chambers!

I know I am invited as well. I made my way there, by taking “baby steps” serving and taking care of those close to me, family and friends.

For the longest time I have been holding on to the door frame, scarred that if I let go and let God be in charge, I won’t have a life any more.

Both, Alene’s and Rick’s words play non-stop in my mind.

Unless I follow their lead, they won’t let go.

The spirit inside, always checks up on me.  I don’t deal well with guilt.

I know that unless we see the sacredness in those we encounter, we are missing the point that every person walking into our life is there for a reason. People and situations in our life are there to help us grow into the spiritual people we are meant to be.

This Christmas season, I recognize and welcome Alene and Rick into my life as sacred teachers and guides. I am grabbing the challenge they are throwing at me!

I am taking the extra steps out of my comfort zone:

I will go looking to find those whom I need to help!

Alene and Rick are shifting the world into a place of:

Love and compassion!

Giving and serving!

Empowerment for, both, recipients and givers!

I will do my part!

Join me in this new journey any way you can: in small steps or big strides!

Let’s grow up together!

Let’s bring comfort into the suffering and painful world by making a difference in one person’s life at a time!

 

Are you going to ignore Graffiti or are you going to heal your heart and that of the world?

 

 

Wonder what others are saying? Check out the rest of the reviews here.

 

 

My book blog-hop

Hello everyone!

Tagged by the talented author, Patty Apostolides,

I am honored to participate in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop!

Blog Hopping offers an opportunity to discover new authors and learn about their published books or works in progress. I have to answer a few predetermined questions about the book I am working on and, at the end of my post, list the link of the wonderful young writer, Anastacia Maness who responded to my tag.

So, without further delay, here we go!     

What is the working title of your book? Sailing Toward Ithaca: A Year in the Journey, Nurturing Body and Soul  (Scroll to the end of my post to read about, and understand, the symbolism of “Ithaca.”)

Where did the idea come from for the book? An emergency hip revision left me on a wheel chair for over two months. The need to heal my body and get my life onto the right track again, propelled me to write. Journaling helped me deal with my feelings. Words flowing on the page encouraged me to eat healthy and exercise, to keep my head up and have faith and trust.

What genre does your book fall under? Nonfiction! My journey, as I grow and evolve throughout this one specific year…writing about life and my perception of it!

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Come on have some fun! Pick someone!! It is about many moment-stories captured to inspire the path paved with true values, integrity and authenticity, faith and trust, all of which bring wisdom and inner growth by the time one reaches the destination point.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Nurture body and soul by connecting to what is important for a fulfilled spiritual life, shifting, at the same time, the World into a place of love and compassion.  

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Initially, self published.  

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? One year, as I followed its days and seasons.     

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I was journaling to heal my life. I am sharing my story my preoccupations, joys and pains, failures and triumphs, inviting the reader to come along in this journey to learn from my mistakes and from my knowledge.

What really pulled me through the hardships of the time was Reading. Wonderful and wise authors like Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, Gary Zucav, Caroline Myss, Julia Cameron, Eckhart Tolle, Jon Kabat-Zinn and many others opened my eyes to many new concepts and pointed me to a spiritual path, which resonated with my religious faith.

Who or What inspired you to write this book? My journal pages were asking me to give them voice. I shared poems and stories with my friends. They applauded and encouraged me. Coming again across Cavafy’s Ithaca (read more at the end of post) I was reminded that the journey itself is just as important as the destination. Many synchronicities “nudged” me to trust that it was God or the Universe guiding my steps on a path I never thought I would follow. If my story could touch even a handful of hearts, I should not be afraid to share it.

Then I “met” Jeff Goins. He was also catalytic as he forced me to believe that “I am a writer,” and it is my duty to share my story with the world. The Tribe he created gives writers such as me a voice and guidance through the process of writing and publishing. It is not only a forum to “hone” my voice but a lifetime-community of friends who guide and help me grow as a writer and human being.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? It’s about Life. Life is life no matter who is living it. It’s a journey. Everyone and everything that crosses our way are necessary for the development of our emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual states of being. Our purpose is to recognize our spiritual nature and evolve. All human beings have this need, even when we don’t recognize it.

By reading my journey, readers will see life and the world through my eyes. They will realize that by directing their journey outward, they empower ego – pride, fear, and doubt – and become one with such a world. Directing their journey inward, they will recognize their sacred aspect and trust its wisdom, connect to love, life, and the Divine. Appointing this soul as navigator, they can successfully sail through rough oceans and calm waters, ultimately becoming the spiritual beings meant to be.

 Thank you for reading about my pending book!

And now, here is the link to the wonderful young writer, Anastacia Maness. She will post next Wednesday. Check out her post and find out what she is up to!

Anastacia Maness:http://rocksolidfamily.com/

These are the links of authors posting today.

Lynne Constantine

Dimitris Sarantis

Audrey Bennett

Tracy Kauffman

Marva Gregorio De Souza

More links of earlier posts:

Kelly Andria

Patty Apostolides

C. DionysiosDionou

Bryan Mooney

Stephanie Nikolopoulos

Thank you for visiting me! I do hope you enjoyed yourself! (Scroll a little further  to read about, and understand, the symbolism of “Ithaca.”)

Ithaca

Posted by: Katina Vaselopulos

When you set out on your journey to Ithaca

pray that the road is long,

full of adventure, full of knowledge.

The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,

the angry Poseidon — do not fear them:

You will never find such as these on your path,

if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine

emotion touches your spirit and your body.

The Lestrigonians and the Cyclops,

the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,

if you do not carry them within your soul,

if your soul does not set them up before you.

 

Pray that the road is long.

That the summer mornings are many, when,

with such pleasure, with such joy 

you will enter ports seen for the first time;

stop at Phoenician markets,

and purchase fine merchandise,

mother-of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,

and sensual perfumes of all kinds,

as many sensual perfumes as you can;

visit many Egyptian cities,

to learn and learn from scholars.

 

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.

To arrive there is your ultimate goal.

But do not hurry the voyage at all.

It is better to let it last for many years;

and to anchor in the island when you are old,

rich with all you have gained on the way,

not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

 

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.

Without her you would have never set out on the road

She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.

Wise as you have become, with so much experience,

you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.

                                        Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)

                                        Translation by George Barbanis

Cavafy’s “Ithaca” has been one of my favorite poems since I first read it as a teenager. The older I get, the more I appreciate the depth and wisdom contained in a few verses

A few summers ago in Greece, when I stumbled again on “Ithaca,” I believed it was a sign.  It seemed the perfect “coincidence” to rethink this book, the perfect beginning, since both regard journeys.

“Ithaca” draws from a Greek poet, Constantine Cavafy, who grew up in Hellenistic Alexandria. He was  influenced both by Greek themes of mythology as well as by the exotics of Egyptian bazaars.

An insightful allegory, with “Ithaca” Cavafy expresses truths and morals with great wisdom. Ithaca, the destination Ionian island of Odysseus’ journey, invites us to explore, learn, and celebrate our own journeys. It reminds us that we are never alone. We will meet many people on our way with whom we will share the joys and the pains of life.

“Your thoughts are your prayers,” Cavafy seems to be saying.  He reminds us to take fear out of life, and positively face head on whatever comes our way. Live each moment by being present, without letting thoughts take over. Only then will we have “lofty” encounters, only then will we enjoy our experiences, whether good or bad. And when we reach Ithaca, will we be wisely satisfied with life.

The beautiful verses, phrases, and ideas of the original poem are executed wonderfully in this translatio. Being Greek, however, I hear the poem in its original language. Its words and rhythm play on my heartstrings the most wonderful and sublime music.  

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

“The Next Big Thing Blog Hop”

Coming November 28!

Hello friends!

Hope you had a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving holiday!

Always remember:

We are blessed with God’s great abundance!

Mindfully counting and enjoying His blessings while sharing with others, we empower the Universe to be more generous in giving!

 

Do you know what “ The Next Big Thing Blog Hop”  is?

I didn’t! I just heard about it recently, when invited to participate in this event.

I have never done anything like this. Being open to new adventures, although bewildering to a degree, is exciting!

I so look forward to posting on November 28!

I was tagged by Patty Apostolides.  She is a biologist and author of Greek Novels, Lipsi’s Daughter, The Lion and the Nurse, and The Greek Maiden and the English Lord.

She has also written the poetry book “Candlelit Journey: Poetry from the Heart.

Visit her at http://www.pattyapostolides.com /                       

Patty was tagged by Maria F. Karamitsos, associate editor of the GreekStar newspaper in Chicago and author at https://fromthemommyfiles.wordpress.com/

The process is similar to a chain letter:

One writer/author answers several questions about him and about his writing, something she works on or has already published. At the end of that session, five other authors should be listed, who will have to answer their own questions and “tag” five other authors, and so on.

It’s a great way for writers and authors to gain exposure, as readers hop from one blog to another, reading about their favorite writers, as well as learning about new ones.

This is a great way to share our “stories!”

I am posting this with the intention of inviting you to visit me at http://journeyswithkatina.com the 28th of November and learn about the book I am working on. I am also inviting you to participate in sharing your story.

Hop along with me and/or return next week to read more about me and get a chance to see what other wonderful writers and authors have to say about themselves and their writing!

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Love and blessings,

Katina

Grateful for….

Hello friends,

Do you believe in coincidences?

They come from heaven! They are God’s way of placing us where we need to be at a specific time. I am here! Just before Thanksgiving Day! I am not ready yet! Scared! Excited as well!

“Knowing” there is a reason for it, I am humbled and overflowing with gratitude.

Life’s Incredible Journeys is a dream becoming reality.

Immersed I am in it and in Life itself. I need to swim or else! I am moving my arms and feet to float. I get tired and want to give up.

Where did the angels come from? They pull me up and cheer me! They hand me a thrift wood and show me the way!

Oh, I am grateful!

I am grateful for Spyro, my husband of 47 years, our children and 9 grandchildren for the joys and challenges they brought into our lives…

For my 92 year old mother who lives with us, helping and inspiring us with her strength and wisdom

For our physical friends, online friends, Jeff Goins and the Tribe Writers, all accepting me with my limitations and always helping me stay afloat.

I am grateful to be here! Hope to make many new friends, to share with you what I know and learn from your wisdom.

God has placed every one of you in my life to help me grow and mature to the spiritual being He meant for me to be. I am grateful to you for accepting the role of teacher and friend!

Grateful I am for God’s great abundance in my life!

Counting blessings every day, we leave little room for Life’s hardships to take over our minds and hearts.

I know from personal experience that persons who are optimistic and grateful by nature are more focused mentally and less prone to depression.

When I count my blessings, I feel more at peace, physically and mentally.

Being grateful for the chance to care for many, it gives me strength to go on giving with patience and love.

Not expressing gratitude is like wrapping a present and not giving it.

Gratefulness is not programmed in our genes. It is a matter of attitude. It’s a choice. Overlooking blessings brings us to what is lacking in life.

We don’t need much to live happy and spiritually fulfilled lives. Yet, we are blessed with many gifts.

Our life is a precious gift! Did you have something to do with it? I did’t. It came to be without my own doing.

Every day presents me, all of us, with countless moments of beauty and happiness. Are we grateful for such moments or are we focusing on life’s difficulties?

Love is part of life. That’s the best blessing of all. Even amidst difficulties, one or more persons will be there to love us or for us to love and cherish — parents, family, and friends…pets too.

Most of us have food and water; a roof over our heads; good health or, at least, not major problems. All, Godsend gifts, are often lacking from the lives of many people in the world.

I don’t want to take such assistance for granted. I make a conscious effort to count and appreciate what I have, not focusing on what is lacking.

Being grateful for what we perceive as godsends should be easy.

Can we choose to be thankful when adversity takes over life?

Difficult but achievable! A matter of choice and perception!

Looking beyond the hurt and anguish of misfortune, we have the capacity to perceive the hardships of life as miracles in disguise…

…lessons or training which will strengthen our character, moving us to a higher level of inner maturity.

We must trust that a reason we cannot understand is at work. Then, we can accept difficulties as opportunities to cultivate patience, trust, compassion, and humility.

Having gone through quite a few crises in my life, I can vow that… choosing to be positive instead of negative helps both physically and spiritually.

As Christians we have been giving “thanks” for almost 2000 years.

The word Eucharist comes from the Greek word Eucharistia. It means “thanksgiving.” When Jesus was no longer on earth, His disciples gathered together daily. They broke bread and drank wine in remembrance of Christ’s Last Supper, thanking God for each other, their food, and Jesus teachings.

Partaking in the feast of Eucharist during the Divine Liturgy, we thank God for being in our lives and for having allowed us to know Jesus.

As we express our gratitude, we hold on to our lifeline with Jesus and God.

The Eucharist is a wonderful, mystical way to nourish body and soul.

Gratitude can be mystical and nourishing!

We are unique individual souls inspired by Spirit itself. No other treasure on earth is more valuable; no animal is stronger than our spirit that draws strength from God Himself.

Are we grateful for the divine energy that runs through us, grateful for who we are?

Appreciating the sacredness in our own heart makes it easier to be thankful for everything and everyone else in our life.

Keeping a gratitude journal where I write down a list of belongings or people who made me happy during the day keeps me in touch with my blessings.

What are you choosing to be grateful for and how do you express your gratitude?

Please, share with a Comment!