Posts Tagged ‘Joy’

Gratitude. God is awesome. As 2011 closes, I give thanks for the many blessings received & shared with you, my community of family and friends. In May, I celebrated with my daughter as she completed her MFA at Boston U. She now enjoys a wonderful position as head of a Boston College’s costume shop, and she continues to expand her portfolio  of exquisite designs. I’m blessed that she’ll be home for the holidays.

Joy. I continue to lean into my ministry in communities near and far, and at my home church and others that call. This summer, I was blessed to visit Ghana, a ministry of learning and teaching with 23 seniors and juniors from University of Washington. My latest book, Pass It On!, will be released next year. It’s my first book for children, and I look forward to writing more.

Light.  In this holy season, I pray for those who are without shelter, food, or a community of loved ones; I pray for those ravaged by war, trafficking, famine, dislocation, flood, sickness, and spiritual darkness. As well, I pray for our service men and women who have returned home from Iraq, specifically for their smooth re-entry with family and community. For some this can be a most difficult transition. I also pray for those who are still serving us at home and around the world, those who are unable to be home with their loved ones during this special time.

May God’s glorious grace, love, and mercy enfold and comfort you during this Holy Season and throughout the New Year.

One Heart ~ Love and Joy, Gloria

Pass It On!


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In his letter to the Hebrews, Saint Paul declares that faith is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Anthurium

More recently,  South African theologian and missionary leader Andrew Murray describes faith as a sixth sense. “Just as we have our [five] senses, through which we hold communication with the physical universe, so faith is the spiritual sense or organ through which the soul comes into contact with and is affected by the spiritual world.” Through this spiritual organ, we have the privilege of communing with the mystery and magnificence of God.

As Paul assures us, the marvelous tapestry of faith is threaded with confidence and evidence of the invisible.  To be sure, this faith is also threaded with fear, doubt, confusion, and, ultimately, surrender.

As our world becomes more chaotic and uncertain, we are called to be ambassadors of light, love, and faith. Ask yourself: What must I let go of, so that I can lean into faith that is confident and sure?

Sending you love, light, peace, and joy in this holiest of seasons.

Pass It On!

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Sanctuary is very special time-out-of-time, a time-honored way to practice self-care for your own healing, renewal, and rejuvenation. It is a time set aside with the intention to take special care of ourselves, so that we can better care for others and our environment. In this sense, Sanctuary is about both “me” and“we” and how deeply connected we are.

Candles.Sanctuary.Gloria Burgess

Here are a few simple ways to time renew your spirit and feed your soul:

– As we lean into autumn, the days grow shorter and we have fewer hours of daylight. During this time nature rejoices and prepares for a season of rest. Following nature’s example, take time to pause and express gratitude for your many blessings—say thank you for family, friends, bread on your table… maybe even a few extra bucks to buy a loaf of bread for someone else.

– Light a candle to remind yourself of the many miracles in your life… and to offer light and prayer for those who live in darkness—the friendless, those without shelter or ample food… those who sleep with fear each night, without hope… those who must walk miles each day in search of sanitary drinking water.

– Take 10: 10 minutes today to select 10 gently used books to give away to someone who will benefit from them—a sister, brother, niece, or nephew; young people in your neighborhood; our service men and women who proudly serve our country; those in faraway places with few or no libraries  close by.

– Get outside and rejoice in nature. Be intentional. Focus on something or someone you don’t normally notice—clouds, colors, children at play, the texture of leaves beneath your feet, teenagers walking home from school, squirrels, nests, the sound of wind in the trees, your own heartbeat. As you dwell in nature, remember that we’re part of it. Care for all of nature as if it belonged to you, because it does.

Enjoy the blessings of this harvest season and the blessings Sanctuary—peace, love, abundance, and joy.

Pass It On!

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While mending from my recent fall, I’ve had some time to think about bringing my life back into balance.  Here are a couple of them:

  • Set priorities and follow the energy of Yes! I often remind my students and clients that “priority” means main concern. Right  now, my main concern is my health. How liberating to have this kind of clarity. When I make choices, I just ask myself: will it boost my spiritual, physical, relational, and emotional health and well-being? The answer must be Yes!
  • Just say no. The idea of saying “no” can be tricky, so I decided to meet this challenge head-on. I made two lists—one of tasks and activities that gave me joy, satisfaction, and energy. I filled the other list with tasks and activities I no longer enjoy, tasks and people who sap my energy. When I looked at this list, I quickly realized that I could let go of many of these activities or delegate them to others. When we let go of the things that we no longer need to do or that no longer serve us, we open the door for activities that are meaningful and that bring us joy.

What will you do today to bring more joy into your life?

Pass It On!

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Named for the dual-faced Roman god Janus, January is about looking backward and looking forward. Drawing on lessons learned from the past few years, what’s the “secret sauce” for success going forward?

The answer is simple and might surprise you.

First, let’s redefine success. If the past few years have taught us anything, they’ve taught us that success is not defined by money, prestige, or possessions. Going forward, try this simple recipe for success:

– Be yourself. The true measure of success is defined by only one thing–your capacity to be your authentic self, which means bringing your real self to your relationships and to what you do. Don’t hide out. Let your light shine.

– Be prepared. This means having a game plan AND a backup plan, so you’re ready for all the little things that are sure to crop up along the way.

– Less really is more. In other words, be content with your life the way it is. Research tells us that “life satisfaction” is one of the greatest predictors of success, so turn up the joy and happiness.

– Treat yourself to good relationships. Make a habit of being around supportive people. It’s not only good for your health, it’s also good for the ones you’re with; your positive energy and vibe will rub off on the people around you.

Pass It On!

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Sanctuary renews our spirit and feeds our soul. Not only is Sanctuary a time-out-of-time for self-care, it’s also a universal, time-honored way to care for others. Sanctuary is about “me” and “we.” When I was a little girl, my mother used to tell me and my four sisters to “make yourself useful”… even though we were still doing our chores.

Little did I know, my mom was teaching us not busyness for busyness sake, she was planting seeds of Sanctuary. By giving, reaching out, and being of service to others, we received gifts that money can’t buy—blessings of Sanctuary: compassion, abundance, and joy.

Here are a few simple ways to take care of yourself and make yourself useful to others—at the same time:

– As the days grow shorter, take time to pause… and say a simple thank you for the many blessings of each day—a roof over your head, friends, food on your table… maybe even a few extra bucks to buy some beans or a loaf of bread for someone else.

– Put on some soothing music and light a candle to remind yourself of the many miracles in your life… and to bring much-needed light and prayer into some of the darkest corners of our world—the 75% of people around the world who don’t have a roof over their head, who sleep each night hungry, hopeless, and afraid… who walk miles every single day in search of clean drinking water.

– Read an inspirational book—and then send it and a few more of your other gently used books to our service men and women. Take a moment and include a note of gratitude for all they do to defend our country.

–  Give thanks. Gratitude changes us. Literally! When you say thanks with a full, joyful heart, your body produces more dopamine, which is why you just feel better when you reach out to others.  As you extend gratitude to others—join us in the Seattle community on Tuesday, December 8, as we express our deep gratitude and keep vigil for four slain officers and their families. Put a blue light in your window or on your front porch in gratitude and remembrance.

– Take a walk—alone or with a friend or another loved one. In silence, as you walk, count your blessings… share them with your companion along your way—and for every step you take, consider donating some amount of your time to a local community center, school, church, mosque, synagogue, group home, or shelter… knowing that getting involved is just as important as your money, if not more so.

– Spend time in nature, focusing your attention on something you don’t normally notice—birds, leafless trees with nests in them, rocks, colors, the sound of wind, rain, snow beneath your feet, your own mighty heartbeat—and remember that you’re part of nature, not separate from it. Care for all of nature as if it belonged to you, because indeed it does.

Enjoy the blessings of Sanctuary and the season—Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa.

The truly wealthy give until it feels good.

Pass It On!

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Gratitude changes everything.

Today I was talking with a friend, a young mother of three. She told me that in the past several days, she was overcome with a spell of grumpiness… brought on by who knows what. When she was at her grumpiest, her husband reminded her that what we pay attention to multiplies. Not surprisingly, when she remembered the gift of gratitude & focused on her blessings… her grumpiness was replaced with thanksgiving… & joy!

In this harvest season, many of us in the U.S. are preparing for the Thanksgiving holidays. Time with loved ones, a savory meal, shared memories. Whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving, know that gratitude changes everything.

This is a season to pause… & to thank God for all the goodness He has blessed you with—your family, friends, health, employment, & whatever talents you have.

In each of our lives, there are so many good things we take for granted.

When you pause, ask yourself: who or what are you grateful for in your life? Your children, wife, husband, parents, special friends? Your health, job, home? All the wonderful people in your life who cherish you simply for being you?

In this season, let us remember to count our blessings & to humbly give thanks. And let us remember that gratitude is as necessary as air. In fact, it is essential “…for human growth, joy, and creativity. Take away the daily experience and expression of gratitude, and life is quickly diminished. Like a weakened immune system, the spirit is left vulnerable to the diseases of cynicism, anger, low-grade depression, or at least an edgy sense of dissatisfaction. Gratitude-deprived, we suffer a relentless loss of vitality and delight.”**

Gratitude changes everything.

Pass It On!

** Excerpt from Seasons of Grace, by Alan Jones, former Dean of Grace Cathedral, & John O’Neill, President of the Center for Leadership Renewal

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